For four games, Wade Redden delivered what was asked of him when the Bruins acquired him from St. Louis.The defenseman, skating on the third pairing, moved the puck efficiently. He didn’t take risks. He contributed offensively (goal and assist in Game 1) when opportunities were available.
But the Bruins were without those assets in Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Toronto in Game 5. Redden was knocked out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Coach Claude Julien termed Redden day to day.
It is unclear when or how Redden was injured. He played 16:59 in the 4-3 Game 4 overtime win at Toronto — the most he has played in the series.
He did not miss any regular-season games because of injuries this year.
For Game 5, Matt Bartkowski replaced Redden on the third defensive pairing alongside Adam McQuaid. The Bruins recalled Bartkowski from Providence Thursday.
Bartkowski played only 6:40. Bartkowski and McQuaid couldn’t connect on several exchanges. Bartkowski skated just two shifts for 40 seconds of ice time in the third period and was on the ice for Clarke MacArthur’s goal.
“I felt comfortable,” Bartkowski said. “I need to play better, I know that. We need a better outcome. As long as we take what we had going in the last part of the third period and carry that into the next game, I think we’ll be great.”
Redden’s calmness was most missed on the power play. Redden mans the point on the No. 2 unit alongside Dennis Seidenberg. Redden is excellent at holding the point, keeping pucks in the zone, and finding open men.
Andrew Ference replaced Redden on the second unit.
Ference is not a power-play regular. He averaged only nine seconds of PP time per game during the regular season.
Ference couldn’t handle the puck during a second-period power play and Tyler Bozak went the other way to score a shorthanded goal.
Dougie Hamilton was also under consideration to replace Redden. But had the right-shot Hamilton played, the Bruins would have had to shuffle their defensive formation significantly. Seidenberg would have had to shift to the left side and be separated from Zdeno Chara. The Bruins lost Game 2 when Seidenberg moved to the left and Hamilton made his NHL playoff debut.
With the left-shot Bartkowski paired with McQuaid, the top two tandems remained intact.
Bartkowski dressed in 11 regular-season games (two against Toronto). He had zero goals and two assists while averaging 13:29 of ice time.
In the AHL playoffs, Providence is coming off a first-round dogfight against Hershey. Providence dropped the first two games, then rallied to claim the next three and advance to a second-round matchup against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which began on Friday. Bartkowski had a team-high five assists in the opening round.
“I think it makes a world of difference,” Bartkowski said of competing in the AHL playoffs compared with being a healthy scratch with the varsity.
“Compared to if I was just sitting around, riding the bike, bag-skating, and things like that, I think it definitely helps a lot.”
Second line accountability
Three of the Bruins’ four lines have scored even-strength goals during the series. The line that’s gone without a five-on-five goal is the unit that was the most consistent threesome during the regular season.
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Tyler Seguin submitted another collective 0-0—0 performance in Game 5. Bergeron landed six shots on James Reimer in 19:46 of ice time. Seguin also recorded six shots. Marchand, however, didn’t put a single puck on goal.
“We do,” said Julien when asked if the Bruins needed more from Bergeron’s line. “They know we do. That has to come for us to be successful, starting next game. It’s something called accountability. We have to have more of that from that line as far as being a difference-maker or at least something positive.”
The power line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton continued its heavy play in Game 5. They were on the ice for a lengthy third-period shift that resulted in Chara’s goal. The No. 3 line of Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, and Jaromir Jagr also controlled the puck and generated chances.
Not so for the Bergeron line. The closest the three came was when Bergeron had a net-front chance in the second period. Bergeron had just peeled around the net when a Daniel Paille tip of a McQuaid shot landed on his blade. Reimer lunged to his right to get his pad on Bergeron’s shot at 9:34.
“The puck came out really fast at me,” Bergeron recalled. “I was still turning. I tried to go as fast as I could. Obviously I’d like to see that one again. It’s one of those things that, in the moment, you’re trying to put it in the back of the net. But I had more time than I thought I had. I should have gone high. That’s got to go in.”
Power play still lacking
The Bruins caught a break when Bozak was called for delay of game with 3:48 remaining in regulation. The No. 1 unit snapped the puck around for more than a minute. But the only shot the Bruins managed during the power play was a Jagr wrister that Reimer turned back at 16:32 . . . Lucic was sporting a shiner around his right eye. Lucic required stitches to close a cut on his right eyebrow in Game 4 after being hit by a deflected Chara shot . . . Carlos Arredondo, wearing his signature cowboy hat, was the banner captain prior to Game 5. Arredondo helped hustle Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman out of the blast area on April 15 . . . Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Kaspars Daugavins, Carl Soderberg, and Jay Pandolfo were the healthy scratches.