As told to Jess Isner
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is keeping a diary for BostonBruins.com during the team’s 11-day road trip through Western Canada and the Midwest. In the final edition, he delves into Boston’s big 6-2 win over Chicago to close out the trip.
Finally, it all seemed to come together for us on Sunday in Chicago.
This road trip has been tough. Overall, it didn’t go the way were hoping, by any means, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t progress during each of the games we played, even though the results may not have been what we wanted. Even in Friday’s game against St. Louis, I don’t think the outcome of the game was really indicative of how we had played. We got better as this trip went along, and on Sunday, we finished the trip the right way, with a big 6-2 win over Chicago.
As a team, we’ve talked a lot over the course of this road trip, and we knew we were improving and making progress. On Sunday, we just wanted to stay the course and continue to build. As I said, there were some things about the last game against St. Louis that we liked about our game — for example, we held the Blues to just 15 shots — and we wanted to bring those things we were doing well to the ice on Sunday, but we also wanted to improve in some other areas. We were closer to having a full 60-minute effort, and we got to leave the United Center feeling good about our game overall, from a general perspective.
One of the biggest things we wanted to bring to the table on Sunday was that we wanted to stay focused, regardless of what happened within the game. We did that really well. We went up 2-0 early, but even after the Blackhawks came back and scored on the power play with two seconds left in the first — and even after we had to start the second period on the PK — we weren’t going to let any of that change our focus on what we needed to do. Rarely do you go a whole game with everything going perfectly, so you need to be able to just stay the course.
Against the Blackhawks, it was just about realizing that we were up against a good team and we needed a good effort in order to give ourselves a chance. Everyone in our lineup just brought it. They brought their game on Sunday, and that’s exactly what you need in this league in order to succeed.
Hats off to some of the younger guys who came into the lineup and played really, really well — that was really nice to see. During the course of this trip, Kevan Miller and David Krejci both went down with injuries. As a result, guys have had to come into the lineup and fill their spots, and especially on Sunday, those guys played their roles remarkably well. Ryan Spooner got called up on Saturday and played with us on Sunday for the first time since October, and he was on a line with Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak. They were really buzzing around there all night. Spoons made some nice plays defensively, and a nice play on Looch’s second-period goal, so that was good to see. There’s also Jordan Caron — he hasn’t played a whole lot this year, but he seized his opportunity against Chicago, came in on the forecheck, was strong on the puck and helped to create Gregory Campbell’s goal there as well. All of those guys — Brian Ferlin, too — just brought what they do to the table, and it was nice to see that from them.
It was really nice to get rewarded on Sunday and nice to get some bounces going our way. A lot of that had been missing from the previous handful of games. At the same time, though, we know we can’t rest easy, now that we’ve gotten a win like this. When things aren’t going your way, you don’t get too low, and when things are going better, you don’t want to get too high. Obviously, we’re happy with the outcome here in Chicago, and we feel good about that — but we also know that we still have lots of work to do.
We’ll enjoy this win, but we won’t get too far ahead of ourselves. It’ll be right back to work on Tuesday against Vancouver. Obviously, it was a good way to finish the trip, and now, hopefully we can carry that momentum forward heading back home here now.
Thanks to all who followed along here during the road trip!