Potter, Meszaros prove capable fill-ins on D

Potter, Meszaros prove capable fill-ins on D
April 19, 2014, 1:00 am
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BOSTON - There's a good chance that Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros were relative unknowns to anybody in New England when the 2013-14 NHL season began.

But yet, here they were playing in the team's Game 1 series against the Red Wings.

Both Potter and Meszaros got the nod Friday night as usual Bruins defensemen Kevan Miller and Matt Bartkowski were hit with the flu bug and unavailable.

Potter and Meszaros were both brought over to the team prior to the NHL trade deadline. Potter wasn't even traded here - he was claimed off waivers from the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

The move was seen as a blip on the radar, and not the one they needed to make in order to sure up the defense. That move amounted to be the trade for Meszaros, one that many said just wasn't big enough to make up for the loss of Dennis Seidenberg.

Fans wanted a "top four" defenseman at the time, and neither player was one.

But the moves ended up paying off Friday night, as both Potter and Meszaros filled in admirably on their end. Not bad for a couple of guys who didn't have a clue they would be playing until the morning of.

"No, I just came to the rink [Friday] and found out, and was excited all day," Potter, who's from Michigan himself, said. "I’ve just been waiting for this opportunity for a long time to get into a playoff game, and I’m thankful it came."

It was Potter's first career playoff game - one of three Bruins, along with Reilly Smith and Justin Florek to check that milestone off. It was only his fourth game with the team since he joined them.

Potter logged 16:57 of ice time for the B's, the least amount of all the defensemen, but not by much. Dougie Hamilton was second-least with 17:23. But Potter certainly made the most of his time out there. In 22 shifts, Potter had a shot, two takeaways, and four blocked shots.

"I think every game I’m getting more comfortable and feeling better out there," Potter said. "So hopefully I get another chance and keep improving."

He also saw decent time on the penalty kill unit, a definite weak spot for Boston due to it's injured players. Potter logged 1:37 of time on the penalty kill including time with Zdeno Chara as well as the kill while Chara was in the box.

"Yeah it was fun though," Potter said. "I like those situations and I like to use pressure. I think it makes you more focused. And I think we did a good job killing tonight. They had some chances and we eliminated those pretty good."

Meszaros played 19:40 on the ice including 2:23 on the PK. He blocked two shots as well. He doesn't think the Red Wings did anything that he and the B's weren't expecting, but does admit they controlled the puck too much at times.

"No, I mean they hung on to the puck, especially in the second period there," Meszaros said. "Even though they didn’t have a lot of shots there, they hung on to the puck and we were spending a lot of time in our zone. But, overall it was an even game. I think we had a lot of chances in the third period. It was pretty good for them and they got lucky at some point, but it was solid. It was an even game but it’s a long series. So, we’re going to watch the video, correct some plays tomorrow with the video and watch it and get ready for our next game."

With Miller's and Bartkowski's statuses still up in the air for Sunday, it remains to be seen if Potter and Meszaros will get the call. But Claude Julien can be more confident in going back to one or both of them again if need be.