For the third time this season, defenseman Matt Bartkowski
has been called up from Providence to join the Bruins.
For the third time this season, Bartkowski will play against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pittsburgh, PA native has had two single game stints in Boston this season, playing both of his two career NHL games against the Pens.
"Yeah, I called up management today and told them I wanted to play so they called me up," Bartkowski joked. "Yeah, it's pretty funny I only play against Pittsburgh."
"Yesterday I just found out at about five o'clock. I went to the rink and just like I was going to play and they were like ‘Hey, you're getting called up.' So, I just found out then."
Coach Claude Julien said that although it's a rare coincidence, Bartkowski should benefit from his familiarity of facing the Penguins.
"It's ironic that that's three times against the same team and his hometown. But he knows this team that he's playing against tonight," Julien said this morning. "If anything he's got some experience against them, so hopefully it will help him and probably make him relax a little bit more."
Since Bartkowski was sent back to Providence on Jan. 16, he said he's been working on developing his game and hopes to bring his improved skills to the ice tonight.
"The main thing is gap performance," Bartkowski said of what he's been working on."If I'm getting down there on my gaps, I'll probably be okay up here. The game's just faster up here, so it's a little harder to time it."
Julien spoke with Bartkowski after his last call-up and is looking forward to seeing how the defenseman has developed during his last stint with Providence.
"It's not so much what he had to work on. It was more about the experience," Julien said.
"But third time around you hope that he's got more confidence than he did the first and second time and he just comes out and plays his game. I think eventually guys start getting a little bit more confidence and more comfortable at this level where they start doing a little bit more.
"And I wouldn't be surprised if we see that from him." --Hannah Becker