By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Adam McQuaid went from his sick bed to being a goal-scorer, before having to settle for being ajust plain solid performer in a Bruins win.
McQuaid, who missed Thursday's opener because of illness, had what proved to be the game-winning goal eventually taken away from him in Saturday nights 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. The goal, which put Boston ahead 2-1, was instead awarded to Daniel Paille after McQuaids shot ricocheted off Pailles leg into the net.
McQuaid missed two practices leading up to the Tampa Bay game after catching a nasty virus as he was returning from the team-bonding session in Maine. McQuaid, who was in bed for two days (though he managed to make it to TD Garden for the banner-raising ceremony Thursday), practiced Friday and skated for the full morning skate on Saturday.
It felt good. It was tough not playing Thursday night, so I was happy to be out there today, said McQuaid. I think confidence comes with experience, and knowing that guys will be there to back you up.
At the same time you have to take a peek over your shoulder and make sure there is someone there. You have to know when the right times are to jump up. When you see the opportunity, try to get up there when you can.
The eventual assist for McQuaid arrived after he stepped up into an offensive play and hammered a drop-down pass from Tyler Seguin while rotating around into the offensive zone. Seguin fought to keep the puck in the Boston offensive zone and perfectly envisioned the big defenseman rushing into the offensive zone, and then smacked a puck that bounced off bodies before resting in the net.
McQuaid had 15 points (3 goals and 12 assists) in 67 games last season as a first time NHL regular, but continues to exhibit signs that theres sill some offensive development in the 24-year-old defensemens future.
Its something we want to see more from all of the guys on the back end, but if you had to pick a guy on defense thats probably the least of them expected to go up, itd be McQuaid, said coach Claude Julien. Hes such a defensive-minded defenseman that when you see him supporting the attack, it certainly opens peoples eyes or gets the attention of the people watching him.
We want him to do that more. Hes a pretty smart individual. He picks his spots, and he doesnt want to lose that identity of being a good shutdown defenseman. But McQuaid also wants to help in regards to other areas of the game. Hes got a good shot, and I think hes just getting more comfortable. McQuaid got an understanding that our system requires that our Ds jump up whenever the occasion occurs.
The towering defenseman also got into it several times with Pavel Kubina earlier in the game another good sign that McQuaid is feeling much closer to normal. The offense is something McQuaid is constantly working on in his time with Bruins, but the on-ice snarl seems to come pretty naturally at this point an emerging player in the Bruins organization.