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Bruins' Bartkowski putting poor Game 1 behind him

by Matt Kalman

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The day after a 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, only a handful of Boston Bruins players took part in an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday.

Among those that took the ice was defenseman Matt Bartkowski. The 25-year-old was clearly still frustrated that his holding penalty on Montreal forward Dale Weise at 4:10 of the second overtime set the stage for Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban’s game-winning goal seven seconds later.

Bartkowski wasn't just fixated on that penalty. He was upset about his entire body of work during his 26:26 of ice time.

"The penalties aside, I just don't think I played a very good game. I have to be better," he said after skating on Friday.

Bartkowski was not charged with any giveaways in the game. But he struggled during breakouts and was nearly involved in another game-deciding play three minutes before his penalty. Montreal forward Daniel Briere stripped the puck from Bartkowski and set up center Tomas Plekanec for a scoring chance. Only Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask's glove save kept the game going.

Bartkowski was also in the penalty box for the Canadiens' first goal of the game, which was also scored by Subban.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 is scheduled for TD Garden on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). So there's not much time to dwell on the past.

"It's just short memory. Take what you can from it, learn from it and fix the mistakes," Bartkowski said.

Bartkowski had a late start to the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was sick and missed the first two games of the Bruins' five-game win in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings. Now he's sick over his performance, but he knows what he's capable of doing in the postseason. Last year he was forced into action by injuries and scored a goal in Game 7 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had two points in seven playoff games spanning the first and second rounds of the 2013 playoffs.

"I'm not getting down. It's just one game. I can play better; we can all play better," he said.

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