Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to chat about the upcoming Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins .
Bartkowski and fellow call-up Torey Krug have played well since joining the team in the postseason following injuries to veteran blueliners. With Andrew Ference  and Wade Redden back skating with the team, coach Claude Julien  might soon have to make a roster decision.
“I don’t really think about it too much,” Bartkowski said. “I’m just trying to keep playing and assuming that I am going to play in the games. It’s not my call once it comes down it, who plays. All I can really do is put my best foot forward and see what happens.”
Bartkowski said the fact that he started the postseason playing in the AHL rather than sitting in Boston has played to his advantage.
“I think it was key that I went back down to play in Providence,” he said. “I think if I was just sitting up here and riding the bike, I don’t think I could have played the way I have. We were playing playoff hockey in Providence. It’s not the same level or speed or anything like that, but all in all, it’s still playoff hockey and you’ve got to bring the same intensity. That made a world of difference in being able to prepare for the role I’ve assumed up here.”
“Pittsburgh, you don’t want to call them an All-Star team, but they’ve got a lot of high-end talent,” he said. “I guess they’re more of a risk-reward team [than the Rangers]. I think it will be a pretty good matchup. We’re pretty defensively sound and we’re a strong team. It will be a fun series to play in.”
The Penguins power play is converting at an impressive 28 percent rate this postseason. The Bruins are well aware that they have tobe careful to avoid taking unnecessary penalties.
“They have a really deadly power play. You can go down the list of guys. It goes without saying,” Bartkowski said. “We can’t change the way we play. We still have to play hard and play physical and aggressive. But the stuff after the whistles, we’ve just got to cut back on that. We really can’t put ourselves shorthanded too many times. It’s just an unneeded burden for a team to have.”
Added Bartkowski of the Pittsburgh power play: “With that many highly skilled guys, they’re just going to do stuff that’s out of the ordinary. We just really have to be prepared for anything and know where [Sidney] Crosby is and [Evgeni] Malkin is. They’re going to be in their spots. And be prepared to buckle down, block shots and have really good clears.”
Bartkowski said he’s not concerned about the long layoff between games. The Bruins last played on Saturday, and reports indicate the conference finals won’t begin until this weekend.
“I don’t think it really matters too much,” he said. “Pittsburgh’s doing the same thing we are right now, just sitting around. I guess if anything it just gives us more time to prepare and learn about Pittsburgh’s system and stuff like that.”