After nine-game absence, McQuaid returns for B’s

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Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid will play for the first time in nine games tonight when the B’s take on the Preds in Nashville.

McQuaid, 27, has been sidelined with a lower-body injury believed to be a groin strain. He last played on Nov. 30, and that came after he missed eight games with the same ailment (McQuaid also sat from Nov. 9-29).

The Bruins will be pleased to get McQuaid back in the mix. The depth defenseman was a fairly steadying presence prior to getting hurt — averaging 15:43 per game with a plus-7 rating — and without him, the Bruins were forced to use AHL Providence blueliners Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky, the latter of whom performed admirably but saw limited minutes.

(The loss also put extra strain on Boston’s other defenseman, notably Zdeno Chara, who played 27:17 in Saturday’s win over Buffalo.)