BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien will need to tweak his defensive pairings (again) for tonight's possible series-clinching Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden. Veteran defenseman Wade Redden will not be in the lineup due to an undisclosed injury, and he's listed as day-to-day.
Boston recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski on Sunday night from the Providence Bruins and he participated in the Bruins' game-day skate.
Even though the Bruins have veteran Aaron Johnson available, Julien said it will either be Bartkowksi or Dougie Hamilton in the lineup tonight. Julien is trying to figure out his pairings, with Bartkowski being a left shot and Hamilton a right shot.
"We have to decide what we want to do with our pairing here," Julien said. "Once we decide that we'll know who to put in, and they've both been told that, so it'll be one of those two guys."
It's unlikely Julien would separate his top pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, which would have to happen if Hamilton is inserted. If Bartkowski plays, he could be paired with Adam McQuaid.
At the time of his recall, Bartkowski and the P-Bruins were preparing for the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Providence erased a two-game deficit for a 3-2 series win against the Hershey Bears in the quarterfinals.
"After Game 4, we won in the last four minutes, that was a great feeling," explained Bartkowski. "Then winning [Game 5] was pretty special. Being down 2-0 is like being down 0-3 in a seven-game series and having to win four, so I feel pretty good right now."
Bartkowski registered five assists in the playoffs for the P-Bruins, and because he was focused on his job, he wasn't expecting a call from Boston.
"It was kind of unexpected," Bartkowski said. "I figured I'd be down there playing [in Providence]. I don't know anything about tonight yet, so I'll find out when we show up for the game."
Bartkowski spent the majority of the regular season in Providence, but played 11 regular-season games for the Bruins before he was sent back in order to get some playing time.
"It's good he's been playing and that's why we sent him down there," Julien said. "At one point, we knew what we were going to start with in the playoffs, so because we had the ability to send him down we wanted him playing for that reason, so if we needed him he wouldn't be sitting for a long time. We've got a chance to bring him in now."
Bartkowski said he glad he's been playing instead of watching from press level as a healthy scratch, something Hamilton has done in all but one game of this series.
"I think it makes a world of a difference, compared to if I was just sitting around riding the bike and bag skating, and stuff like that, so I definitely think it helps a lot," Bartkowski said.
If he does get in the lineup, Bartkowski said he won't be nervous.
"No, I don't think so," he said. "I've been playing playoff hockey down there, it's not the NHL, but it's still playoff hockey. It's still the same mentality, same style of play, and I played against Toronto in the regular season, so I'll be alright."