|Matt Bartkowski: ‘I know when I play well; I know when I play bad’||05.10.14 at 12:22 am ET|
If the Bruins advance past this round, the chatter about Dennis Seidenberg will inevitably grow louder and louder. Until Seidenberg does come back — if that ever happens this postseason — the Bruins will make due with either Matt Bartkowski or Andrej Meszaros in their lineup. Both have been given their shot at points this postseason, and both have struggled to establish a stranglehold on the position.
All things considered, Bartkowski is a superior player to Meszaros. He skates better and he’s stronger, but he’s struggled since returning to the lineup after missing the first two games of the first round with the flu.
Bartkowski had rough showings in Games 4 and 5 of that series, and a Game 1 performance against the Canadiens that saw him take two penalties (the first of which was on a Dale Weise dive, the second of which was a penalty he took in double overtime), Claude Julien opted to play Meszaros over him in Games 2 and 3. Meszaros predictably struggled and saw a blocked shot of his end up going the other way for the game-winning goal in Game 3, so Bartkowski was put back in for Thursday’s Game 4.
Back and forth, in and out, and still looking to regain the form he had before he was sick. Despite being the class clown of Boston’s blueline when it comes to his sense of humor, Bartkowski is generally pretty blunt when it comes to assessing his work. As such, he doesn’t fret about whether he’ll be in the lineup from game to game.
“I mean, I kind of know if I’m going to be in or not,” Bartkowski said. “I know when I play well; I know when I play bad.”
So what did he think of Game 1?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t even remember, to be honest.”
Earlier in the week, Peter Chiarelli suggested that Bartkowski had “got out of sync a little bit” after returning from the flu, but the player says he doesn’t want to use his early postseason illness as an excuse for his play of late. Since he’s been in, Bartowski said, he’s been fine physically.
“I just wasn’t playing to my potential,” he said of his play.
If he’s OK physically, he still needs to bring a sharper game to the ice. He’s been caught out of position and he’s struggled to knock guys off of pucks. At points, Bartkowski’s been more prone to taking himself out of the play than the player he’s defending.
Though neither he nor Meszaros are slam-dunks, it’s worth remembering that Bartkowski was a hesitant player early on in his NHL career because he didn’t want to make mistakes in his brief NHL stints. Knowing a bad performance means a trip to the press box might add some of those jitters Bartkowski used to face. Then again, it’s been three seasons since he’s gotten his first taste of the NHL and he has since established himself as someone who would be a regular NHL blueliner on most teams, so there’s a good enough chance he’s outgrown all of that.
Remember, it was just a year ago that Bartkowski had scored in Game 7 of the first round and went on to perform well in the second round against the Rangers with Boston’s blue line banged up. Bartkowski has shown in the past that he can play in the postseason, but the Bruins could use a reminder.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night’||05.09.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ Game 4 overtime win against Montreal. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Matt Fraser, who played in his first playoff game on Thursday, became an unlikely hero when he scored 1:19 into overtime to give the Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 4.
“You could almost sense it coming from that line, to be perfectly honest,” McGuire said. “I made that point a lot during the broadcast. I thought both [Carl] Soderberg wanted it off the crossbar, [Loui] Eriksson was really pushing the pace and obviously Fraser fit in really well with them. Peter Chiarelli and the scouting staff of the Bruins and Bruce Cassidy out in Providence deserve a lot of credit.
“This is a kid who was an undrafted player coming out of the Western Hockey League, and he’s part of a big trade last summer with Rich Peverley going the other way and Tyler Seguin going the other way. He fits in so well. It was just a ping-pong play off the back board.
“I thought the Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night.”
The Bruins have had just two penalties during the past two games of the series.
“I just think they’re worried about taking penalties,” McGuire said. “The Bruins win that double-overtime game in Game 1, they become more of a beast, more physical, but they went down 0-1 in the series. They knew they couldn’t go down 0-2, they had to scramble to win Game 2, they lose Game 3 and now they’re saying, ‘Uh-oh, we cannot allow these guys to get man advantages,’ so they changed a little bit of their dynamic. I also think heading into tomorrow’s game, now that it’s 2-2 and heading back to Boston, I truly believe we’ll see a more physical Bruins team, more like the Bruins team the fans in Boston are used to seeing.”
“Just for whatever reason, David Krejci looks a little fatigued to me,” McGuire said. “I think today maybe he gets a day off and he goes into the game tomorrow energized and he plays a little bit better, but he wasn’t managing the puck well during that game, especially during the power play. They need to be better, and I think they will be better. I think the biggest part of it was Krejci with the Olympics, with all the games he played last year, the fact that he’s not an overly large guy. I think there’s a fatigue factor with him.”
|Matt Bartkowski, Matt Fraser in Bruins lineup for Game 4 vs. Canadiens||05.08.14 at 7:27 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Matt Bartkowski is back in the lineup for Game 4 of the second round against the Canadiens. Andrej Meszaros was made a healthy scratch after he played in place of Bartkowski in Games 2 and 3.
Matt Fraser also entered the lineup after being recalled Wednesday night. He skated on the third line in warmups, with Daniel Paille moving back to the Merlot Line. Jordan Caron is a healthy scratch. The anticipated lineup is as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Matt Bartkowski, Justin Florek scratches for Bruins in Game 2 vs. Canadiens||05.03.14 at 11:32 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch for Game 2 of the second round against the Canadiens after taking a pair of penalties in Game 1, both of which led to P.K. Subban power play goals. Andrej Meszaros is back in the lineup after missing the last three games as a healthy scratch.
Daniel Paille, who returned from a head injury in Game 1, looks to be skating on the third line, with Jordan Caron back playing on the left wing of Gregory Campbell‘s line. That makes Justin Florek the healthy scratch, while Caron returns to a line on which he played well in the first round.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien also made a lineup change Saturday morning and also shared some interesting thoughts on one of the best players in his lineup.
Therrien said that Michael Bournival would be in the lineup in place of Travis Moen for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. Bournival played each game of the first round for the Canadiens, contributing an assist in Game 4 as they swept the Lightning but sat in Game 1 as the team opted for Moen’s size and experience.
Asked about Thomas Vanek, who was awfully quiet in Game 1 and was demoted to the fourth line, Therrien said that his players need to be passionate.
‘Work ethic is not negotiable, attitude is not negotiable and competing is not negotiable,” Therrien said.
Though he said he was not talking about one player in particular, you can put two and two together given that it was in response to a question about Vanek.
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|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘The Bruins know it’s going to be a long series’||05.02.14 at 12:48 pm ET|
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was really surprised at the caliber of play, and that speaks well to a fantastic seven-game series, hopefully, because the caliber of play was good as any I’ve seen in this playoff season,” said McGuire, who noted that Friday night he will work his 18th game in 18 nights in 18 cities when he covers the Rangers-Penguins game in Pittsburgh.
The Bruins had 51 shots on goal but missed the net on a number of other opportunities and appeared to overplay the puck on others, leading to turnovers. From his perch between the benches, McGuire heard the Bruins coaches telling the players to be more aggressive in getting the puck to the net.
“I kept hearing them say, ‘Just shoot the puck. Shoot the puck. Don’t be too cute. Shoot the puck,’ ” McGuire said, adding: “One of the big agendas I think for the Bruins going into Game 2 tomorrow afternoon is to shoot the puck from anywhere and just get to the net.”
Meanwhile, the Canadiens pounced on some Bruins turnovers to create chances on the Boston goal.
“The closing speed of the Canadiens is vastly underrated. People that don’t see them a lot don’t understand,” McGuire said. “Everybody knows about Carey Price. Two things people don’t know about the Canadiens that are really important: One, they’re extremely quick. Two, they have a huge amount of character. Much greater than ever before. You saw it with Dale Weise, you saw it with Brandon Prust, you saw it with Travis Moen last night. Their character quotient is a lot higher than people give them credit for. And that’s why I think this will be a long series. And I know the Bruins know it’s going to be a long series and a hard series. They’re aware of it as a team.”
“I think Tuukka said it best. I don’t have to jump on and pile on. I’m sure people are piling on,” McGuire said. “But then again, I remember after Game 1in the Detroit series, everyone was ripping him for the [Pavel] Datsyuk goal, which was a thing of beauty. And he said, ‘Well, maybe I should have had it.’ Tuukka’s harder on himself than any fan could ever be or any newspaper reporter could ever be. He knows he needs to be better. He wasn’t good enough last night. And I think he’ll have a huge bounceback. I’m not surprised that he’s as honest and open as he is, because he doesn’t doubt his abilities at all. And when you don’t doubt your ability, you’re not afraid to say when you make a mistake or you’re not on top of your game. He wasn’t on top of his game last night.”
|Matt Bartkowski on his penalty: ‘I just threw him down’||at 3:18 am ET|
Tuukka Rask might have been willing to take the fall for Thursday’s 4-3 loss in double overtime, but Matt Bartkowski knows better.
Just seven seconds after Bartkowski hauled down Dale Weise in front of the Boston net, P.K. Subban scored his second power-play goal 4:17 into the the second overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden.
What did the defenseman have to say for himself after?
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m not going to comment on whether or not it was a penalty,” he said. “The result sucks, afterwards. So, I think it could have been prevented before the call was made.”
Later, pressed on what kind of chance he was trying to limit in front of Rask, Bartkowski acknowledged that he felt he had no choice but to not let Weise get in prime scoring position.
“[Brandon] Prust shot it in front, and I’m just trying to get positioned so he can’t get to the puck,” Bartkowski said. “I couldn’t get it so I just threw him down.”
Seven seconds later, the Bruins were behind in their second-round series. Bartkowski didn’t need to be asked how frustrating the loss was afterward.
“That’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “We got it going there a little bit, in the first overtime I thought we played pretty well. It thought we took it to them pretty good and then I don’t know, we kind of came out flat, or whatever you want to call it. It just, it sucks.
“We turned it on at the end of the third, got a few big goals from Kruger [Torey Krug] and Johnny [Boychuk] there. If we bring that intensity the whole game then it’s a different story.”
Now, for the second straight series, the Bruins are in the position of having to win after losing Game 1 at home.
“You can take some good from that, but it’s a different series, a different team,” Bartkowski said. “We just, like I said, we’ve got to — the parts that we did play well and we did play our game, we really have to focus on that and focus on bringing that for 60 minutes.”
|Matt Bartkowski back in for Bruins for Game 3, Andrej Meszaros sits vs. Red Wings||04.22.14 at 7:28 pm ET|
DETROIT — Matt Bartkowski is back in the Bruins lineup for Game 3 of the first round against the Red Wings.
Bartkowski missed the first two games of the series due to a stomach flu. His return means that Andrej Meszaros will sit after playing the first two games in Bartkowski’s place.
The forward lines are the same for the Bruins, while Joakim Andersson being in for Daniel Alfredsson is the only change to Detroit’s lineup.
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