For someone who didn’t even know if he’d be playing in the 2013 season, Adam McQuaid has done pretty well for himself.
McQuaid, who had a blood clot prior to the lockout-shortened campaign, returned in time for the start of the season back in January. As the year progressed, he suffered another setback and missed a few weeks due to a shoulder strain.
That is all a distant memory for the 6-foot-4 defenseman now, who delivered the dagger in the Bruins’ sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 Friday night at the TD Garden.
With space on the point, McQuaid fired a shot past Tomas Vokoun, which ironically deflected off Jarome Iginla, to break a scoreless tie at 5:01 of the third period. The goal was good enough to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 victory and send them to their second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in three seasons.
McQuaid, who tallied 10:01 of ice time, came on during a line change. But with no one behind him, he fired away.
“I actually came on for a change, so I was kind of looking back to make sure there was no one behind me on the change,” McQuaid said about his game-winner. “Marshy [Brad Marchand], he kind of stopped up and made a nice pass to me and I just tried to get a shot on net and luckily it went in.”
McQuaid is known for providing a physical presence in the Bruins lineup. On the other hand, the 26-year old defenseman, who had only tally in 32 games during the 2013 campaign, isn’t known for being a goal-scorer.
Through 16 postseason contests, however, McQuaid has doubled that goal total from the regular season to two. But the postseason has been known to have some unique stories, and McQuaid is certainly one of them.
His goal certainly got the Bruins bench buzzing.
“Excited,” captain Zdeno Chara said about what went through his mind after McQuaid scored. “He’s not really known for scoring big goals, but fortunately we are very happen for him, and obviously everybody else.”
After overcoming so much during the course of the season, McQuaid’s teammates and his coach couldn’t have been any more thrilled.
“We are really happy for him that he scored such a big goal,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who led all Bruins with 27:34 of ice time. “It’s so rewarding for him because he went through all that sickness, but for him to come back like that and play solid hockey and score that goal, it’s big.”
”I think everybody in the dressing room is really happy for him,” added Claude Julien. “He went through a tough situation in the fall and to be able to come back and play with us, not only that, but score a big goal for us tonight, is certainly a big boost to his morale. Certainly he’s got the players and teammates behind him as far as being happy.”
The Masterson trophy nominee earned the army ranger jacket as the Bruins’ player of the game. That was just the cherry on top for McQuaid in a game, and a season, that’s come full circle.
“It feels great to get to this point. We have a little ways to go to get where we want to be, but, you know, we’re getting closer,” McQuaid said about advancing to the next round. “I guess personally, you know, in December, I wasn’t thinking too much even about playing hockey, it was just trying to get back healthy. It’s definitely nice to see how things come full circle like that.”