Matt Bartkowski, Former Bruin, Finally Enjoying Stability With Canucks

Reuniting with former Boston Bruins defensemen has been a nightly occurrence for the B’s during their current three-game road trip through western Canada.

First, it was Andrew Ference, who watched Wednesday’s Bruins-Edmonton Oilers matchup as a healthy scratch. Then came a Friday night visit to Calgary, the new home of Dougie Hamilton.

The Bruins will wrap up their trip Saturday night in Vancouver, and there to greet them was Matt Bartkowski, who finally has found some stability with the Canucks after an roller-coaster five-year stint in Boston.

“(I’m) fitting in pretty well,” Bartkowski told reporters Saturday morning at Rogers Arena, via BostonBruins.com. “It’s a very accepting group, and they bring new guys in and young guys in really well, so it’s an easy group to fit into.”

The 27-year-old made his Bruins debut during the 2010-11 season, but he never blossomed into a reliable blue-line presence for coach Claude Julien. His best campaign to date came in 2013-14, when he posted career highs in games played (64), assists (18) and plus/minus (plus-22) but failed to score a goal despite registering 91 shots on net.

Goal-scoring evaded Bartkowski throughout his Bruins tenure, and when Boston decided to cut ties with him this past offseason, he still had yet to light the lamp in a regular-season NHL game. That finally changed when he scored in his sixth game as a Canuck, and he then went on to double his career total five games later.

“The funny thing was nobody here really knew (about the goal drought),” he said, via The Boston Globe. “I guess it was good they didn’t know, first of all. It was just kind of like, ‘Oh he scored, great.’ ”

Bartkowski has played in 26 of Vancouver’s 27 games this season, notching two goals and five assists. He’s expected to be in the lineup for Saturday’s 2011 Stanley Cup Final rematch.

“On the ice, we’re all pretty professional,” Bartkowski said of his former Bruins teammates. “Sure, a few jokes and chirps will go out, but it will be professional during the game.”

Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Vancouver Canucks defensemen Matt Bartkowski

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