PHILADELPHIA — For parts of four seasons, Andrej Meszaros was on the wrong end of the Bruins-Flyers rivalry.
Meszaros repeatedly learned the hard way that the Bruins have had the better of the Flyers since the 2009-10 second-round collapse.
In their last 15 meetings, the Bruins are 11-3-1 against the Flyers, including Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win. Earlier this season, Meszaros was a healthy scratch for the Flyers’ 6-1 loss to the Bruins Jan. 25. The Flyers dominated the Bruins in the third period on Sunday, but couldn’t come up with the winner in overtime or the shootout.
“I always hated to play against them,” Meszaros said with a smile of his current team. “Now I’m here, I know the guys and I know the players, how they play. It’s been great to be a part of it. I’m really happy.”
The Bruins acquired Meszaros from Philadelphia at the trade deadline for a conditional third-round pick in 2014. The Flyers also retained half of Meszaros’s remaining salary.
Through nine games with the Bruins, Meszaros has delivered as expected. The left-shot Meszaros has played both sides. He has worked the point on both power-play units. Because of his versatility, Meszaros has expanded the coaching staff’s toolbox.
“That’s one of the reasons we got him,” said coach Claude Julien. “When we were discussing possible trades, we liked the fact that he can play both sides in a pinch. We didn’t really have a ton of them. Especially our right-side guys really aren’t comfortable on the left. We’ve got a few left guys that can play the right. It’s good to have that option.”
Against his old team, Meszaros skated on the left side of the No. 2 pairing with Johnny Boychuk. Meszaros played 20:21 and scored one goal on three shots.
At 10:43 of the first, Meszaros beat Steve Mason. Brad Marchand controlled the puck down low. Meszaros joined the rush and got open in the high slot. After taking Marchand’s pass, Meszaros gunned a snap shot stick side on Mason to tie the game at 1-1.
Meszaros wasn’t a regular in the Philadelphia lineup. He hasn’t been a go-to defenseman with his new team either. Meszaros has been a healthy scratch for five games, including two straight against Washington and Chicago.
The Bruins haven’t determined whether Meszaros will be one of the six defensemen to start the playoffs. It’s likely that Meszaros’s primary competition is Matt Bartkowski on the second pairing.
Bartkowski is stronger, a better skater, and more effective at rushing the puck out of the zone. But Meszaros has a heavier and more accurate shot than Bartkowski. Meszaros also bests Bartkowski in experience. The Bruins will use the final seven games of the regular season to determine which defenseman would be better on the second duo.
“You have to keep playing good to stay in the lineup,” Meszaros said. “There’s a little bit of pressure. But I think it’s good. All the D’s so far have been playing pretty good. It’s tough on the coaches.”
Bartkowski back in
Bartkowski, a healthy scratch for Saturday’s 4-2 win over Washington, returned to the lineup against the Flyers. Bartkowski played on the No. 3 pairing with Kevan Miller.
Bartkowski played 18:20, least of the six defensemen. He assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s second-period goal and was credited with two hits.
Torey Krug was the healthy scratch. It was the third time in 10 games Krug was the odd man out. But given his power-play touch, it’s unlikely Krug will be out of uniform to start the playoffs.
Jarome Iginla got in his first fight since Dec. 14. Iginla didn’t like a heavy hit by Zac Rinaldo that sent him into the boards. Rinaldo got the better of Iginla with several punches that sent the right wing off balance. Iginla got back to his skates, but linesmen Greg Devorski and Pierre Racicot ended the fight . . . Zdeno Chara scored his 10th power-play goal. It might have been his prettiest. Chara set up in front of the net. After taking a pass from Iginla, Chara snapped a blind backhand shot over Mason’s stick to tie the game at 5:44 of the second. Chara trails only Nashville’s Shea Weber for power-play goals among defensemen . . . Chara, Boychuk, Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, and Chris Kelly were the five Bruins on the ice for six-on-five play at the end of regulation. They failed to clear the puck and allowed Vincent Lecavalier to score the tying goal. But expect those five players to get the nod for such situations in the playoffs . . . Adam McQuaid (quadriceps strain) is continuing his off-ice workouts. Julien said McQuaid is making progress. There is no timetable for when McQuaid will skate or if he could play before the start of the postseason . . . Jordan Caron and Corey Potter were the other healthy scratches.