Andrej Meszaros glad to be back in Bruins lineup
|05.04.14 at 2:06 pm ET|
When Matt Bartkowski got healthy and was given his usual spot on the Bruins’ second pairing back midway through the first round against the Red Wings, Andrej Meszaros had to know that he wasn’t going to sit for long. It’s the playoffs; players get hurt.
Yet when Meszaros made his return to Boston’s lineup in Saturday’s Game 2 against the Canadiens, it wasn’t because of injuries, but because Bartkowski was having a tough go of it. Bartkowski, who beat out Meszaros for the job as Johnny Boychuk‘s partner down the stretch, returned from the flu for Game 3 against the Red Wings, but struggled in Games 4 and 5 against Detroit.
When Bartkowski had another tough performance in Game 1 against the Canadiens — most notably taking the penalty that led to P.K. Subban‘s double-overtime-winner, Claude Julien showed just how short a leash he’s keeping his players on and put Meszaros back in the lineup for Game 2.
“It’s what we decided to do; it’s as simple as that,” Julien said Sunday. “I think we felt we needed a change and we made that.”
Meszaros had an assist and took a roughing penalty Saturday. His penalty for getting into it with Tomas Plekanec — which should have been matching — led to a Thomas Vanek power play goal.
By the looks of it, Meszaros will remain in the lineup going forward, as Bartkowski skated with the injured players and scratches Sunday.
“I had to prepare myself because you never know what’s going to happen, if there’s going to be injuries or whatever,” Meszaros said Sunday. “But obviously being out of the lineup it’s tough for anybody, not just for me. But I’m glad I got the opportunity to go out there and play. It was a fun game.”
There is one interesting wrinkle to Meszaros’ situation: The pick that was traded to the Flyers at the trade deadline was conditional, and it’s in jeopardy of vesting. As is, Boston has sent a third-round pick in the upcoming draft to Philadelphia for Meszaros, but if the B’s advance to the Eastern Conference finals and Meszaros plays in two thirds of Boston’s postseason games, the Flyers would get Boston’s second-round pick instead.
Meszaros has now played in three of the Bruins’ seven playoff games, but if the B’s beat the Canadiens, he’ll have played in at least 6 of Boston’s 10. In other words, if the Bruins beat the Canadiens and Meszaros stays in the lineup for the rest (or even most) of Boston’s playoff run, the Flyers will get that pick. Philly also gets that pick if the Bruins re-sign Meszaros before the draft. Should the B’s sign him after the draft, the Flyers get a fourth-rounder 2015 in addition to this year’s third.