When Wade Redden dressed for Game 1, the Blues improved their 2014 draft position. If Redden appeared in one playoff game, St. Louis would receive a 2014 sixth-round pick. Redden was originally traded to the Bruins for a seventh-rounder.
The Bruins’ bosses had no problem with that outcome. Redden scored Boston’s first goal and assisted on the winning strike Wednesday night against the Maple Leafs.
“I guess that’s the case, eh?” Redden, with a smile, said of the conditional pick. “They’re probably not too worried about that right now.”
The veteran defenseman proved why the Bruins were willing to part with a low-round pick. Redden’s 1-1—2 performance in 16:57 of ice time gave the Bruins exactly what they were seeking from their third-pairing blue liner.
Redden moved the puck efficiently. He supported the attack at the right time. He turned defense into offense.
“I was really happy for him,” said coach Claude Julien. “He’s a player that has gone through some rough times. What we tried to do when he came here was make him feel welcome, make him feel appreciated, and give him some confidence that way. So far, it’s paid dividends.”
Through one game, Redden and Adam McQuaid appear to be a more reliable pairing in all three zones than Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau, the No. 3 duo that closed out the playoffs last year. On his goal, Redden aimed a low bead that handcuffed James Reimer. On his assist, Redden snapped a shot on net that Nathan Horton tipped past Reimer.
There was no guarantee Redden would even dress for the playoffs. Following his arrival from St. Louis, Redden was a healthy scratch for seven of the first eight games. But Redden showed in the final week that he was a better playoff choice than Matt Bartkowski and Aaron Johnson, the other left-shot defensemen chasing third-pairing action.
“The coaches and the team here knew what I could do and who I am,” Redden said. “I just came in and worked hard to just get the chance. That’s really what you look for. Things have gone pretty decent. They believed that I could get the job done. That’s a big part of it. The role that I’ve got, I’ve just got to make the most of it there and be a part of the team.”
On April 12, 2012, the Bruins opened their Stanley Cup defense with a series against Washington. McQuaid wasn’t on the TD Garden ice. He was on the ninth floor in suit and tie, still reeling from a season-ending concussion.
“I remember really not feeling well at all,” McQuaid recalled. “It was just an all-around tough time.”
On Wednesday, McQuaid was back where he belonged. He was in uniform as a third-duo defenseman, the position he held when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. McQuaid played a simple, efficient game in 13:22 of ice time.
McQuaid is entering the playoffs having knocked off most of his rust. In October, he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot near his right shoulder. Doctors had to remove a rib and some muscle around his neck as part of the procedure. As expected, McQuaid was not in his usual form at the start of the regular season.
Then on March 19, McQuaid suffered a strained left shoulder that knocked him out for 11 games. His latest injury occurred April 20 when Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke delivered a low hit. McQuaid sat out one game with the undisclosed injury.
McQuaid dressed for the final four regular-season games and showed enough that Julien has entrusted the stay-at-homer to assume his usual spot.
Spot for Daugavins
The Bruins claimed left wing Kaspars Daugavins on waivers from Ottawa March 27. Daugavins wasn’t eligible to play in the next three games because he was awaiting his work visa, so he made his Bruins debut April 4 against New Jersey.
Then he dressed two nights later against Montreal. But for seven of the next nine games, Daugavins was a healthy scratch — not the type of playing schedule that leads to consistency.
But after appearing in the final two regular-season games, Daugavins made his Boston postseason debut alongside Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr. Daugavins had two shots in 9:52 of action. Rich Peverley was a healthy scratch.
The Bruins will not practice on Thursday. They are scheduled to skate on Friday at Ristuccia Arena in preparation for Saturday’s Game 2 . . . TSN’s Darren Dreger reported after the game that the league reviewed Andrew Ference’s elbow to the head of Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski in the first period . . . Horton returned after missing the last five regular-season games with an upper-body injury. Horton, skating with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, had a goal in 18:56 of ice time . . . Brad Marchand said James van Riemsdyk speared him in an uncomfortable spot late in the game. “He speared me in the privates,” Marchand said.