McQuaid & Pelley/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — It’s almost time for Bruins head coach Claude Julien to make a big decision about his back end.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk could be back ready to play as early as Wednesday, less than a month since he suffered a fractured forearm.

Don’t think for a second that Adam McQuaid didn’t know that despite some solid play in the eight games prior to tonight’s 3-0 win over New Jersey tonight at TD Garden, he was a candidate to go back to the press box. So in his ninth game dressed since he was a healthy scratch for the first six, he made his pitch for playing time early.

It took just one shift and 3:05 of game time for McQuaid to drop the gloves with Rod Pelley. After losing his footing, McQuaid got back up and matched the Devils forward punch for punch as you can see here:

“Well, we’ve been kind of having some slow starts as of late,” said McQuaid after the game. “It was my first shift and I just thought I would get the guys going, get the crowd excited, and yeah, you know, that’s about it.”

McQuaid finished with 9:05 of ice time and three blocked shots. For the season, he has an even plus/minus and has averaged 12:14 of ice time. A stay-at-home defenseman who has to put his physicality to use to be effective, McQuaid certainly let his teammates know he intends to be a part of their lineup for longer than maybe it was previously expected.

“I think he did a great job,” said fellow rugged defenseman Mark Stuart. “I think we were all into the game right away, but then to have that [fight], I think that got us going even more. I think that was definitely part of our good start. You’ve got to give him credit for helping us come out with our first goal.”

So McQuaid has put his best foot, and fists, forward in an effort to keep getting a sweater from his coach.

“I mean, I guess it’s in the back of my mind,” said McQuaid. “When I’m playing I try not to worry too much about it. I think you can try and do too much when you’re worrying about stuff like that. I definitely want to show that I was able to contribute. Hopefully … we will see what happens. It’s out of my control.”