bartkowski_hotrookieBruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski was informed by a reporter about the history he has made in the NHL in his 98-game career and he joked that he now has “one to gloat about.”

Although Bartkowski scored a goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013, he still has not scored in the regular season. However, he has 23 points. That makes him the NHL all-time leading scorer among players without a goal, according to NHL.com.

“I think it’s about time I get a goal,” Bartkowski told TheBruinsBlog.net.

Bartkowski’s not expected to be an offensive defenseman along the lines of teammates Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton. He doesn’t get power play time, and in 175 AHL games he scored just 11 goals. Nonetheless, he’s getting a little impatient waiting for that red light to go on.

“You think one would’ve hit someone and gone in by now,” said Bartkowski, who has 20 shots on goal in 14 games this season. “I’ve got to have a fair amount of shots, you think something would’ve bounced off anything. Shit, Seids [teammate Dennis Seidenberg] shoots it from the red line and it goes in. You think I could do that one.”

Lately Bartkowski has had less opportunity to continue his quest for that first goal. After he was on the ice for four goals against (two on the penalty kill) and one even-strength goal for in the wild 7-4 loss at San Jose, Bartkowski was a healthy scratch the past two games. Coach Claude Julien has chosen to go with Zach Trotman as the sixth defenseman, leaving Bartkowski and Joe Morrow to roam the press box.

Bartkowski, who has three assists and a minus-1 rating this season, had been playing better in his most recent stint of games. From Nov. 15 to Dec. 4 he was plus-3 in nine games after he’d sat out the prior seven games. Although it’s tough to gauge Bartkowski’s performances on numbers, the eyeball test showed he famously made several diving plays to break up breakaways during that his nine-game stint, and he began to play more physically.

Nonetheless, Julien gave Bartkowski the hook after one night that featured pretty much every Bruins player performing like a team of misfits against the Sharks.

“I don’t know. I thought I was pretty consistent for seven games in a row there and then I have an off night. … I think it’s more just … if you’re not at your best, you can’t be at not necessarily your worst, but you’ve got to bring a different game,” Bartkowski said. “That’s what Butchy [Providence coach Bruce Cassidy] always said in Providence. Bring your A game, bring your B game. And so you can’t bring your C game.”

Those “C games” have been Bartkowski’s undoing, not just this season but throughout his career since signing with Boston and leaving Ohio State early. He didn’t luck into the goal and assist he produced in seven playoff games in 2013, when he was a savior for an injury-depleted defense corps. He also probably isn’t the rec-league player he looked like during eight playoff games last season, especially against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s something in between and even at 26 years old, Bartkowski is still trying to find a way to not let negativity snowball and eventually land him on the sidelines.

“It’s just something that goes. Like we scored two goals there [in San Jose] and then we start playing like crap and then you start playing like crap, and then well ‘shit I’ve got to do this and that.’ It’s just a bad game,” Bartkowski said.

Bartkowski hasn’t received much an explanation for his lack of playing time. And he says he doesn’t need one. He knows his inconsistency has consequences and he has to solve his own problems before he can become a lineup regular.

“Honestly I don’t think about it,” he said. “Even when you’re not playing your best, you’re just kind of ‘OK, what I can do here to not salvage it, but get back on track.’ That’s what you’ve got to think about.”

As he attempts to get back in the lineup, Bartkowski can also think about his unwanted NHL record and hope he doesn’t hold it for much longer.