February 2, 2012

Ference back, McQuaid probable for B's

By Jesse Connolly

The Bruins knew defenseman Andrew Ference (pictured right) would be ready to return for Thursday's game against the Hurricanes following his three-game suspension. What they didn't know was whether or not his usual partner on the back-end, Adam McQuaid, would be joining him. 

The two d-men skated together at TD Garden this morning, with McQuaid having quickly recovered from a lower-body injury suffered late in Boston's win over Ottawa on Tuesday, and should be reunited for the first time in 12 days when the Bruins welcome Carolina to Boston.

"As far as we know he should be ready to go but we’ll probably leave it as a game time decision," coach Claude Julien said of McQuaid's status. "But he looked good this morning and we’ll anticipate that he’s going to play."

Julien is looking forward to the return of the oft-underrated Ference to his lineup.

"Well I think he’s been a pretty stable force back there for us, I’ve liked his game this year," Boston's bench boss said. "He’s been a real healthy player and I think that’s what’s kind of held him back in the past as far as people appreciating him for what he really is. Because every time he’d come back, he’d have to find his game again but he’s been real consistent, he’s been reliable.

"I think he’s had a great year so getting him back in our lineup will give us that experienced guy we can lean on a little bit more and maybe take some of the ice away from the guys getting heavy minutes."

The B's went 2-1-0 during Ference's three-game ban. No. 21 enters tonight's game with four goals, 16 assists and a plus-15 rating in 43 games for the Black and Gold.