Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview

Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview
February 28, 2012, 9:45 pm
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Tonight the Bruins have some new parts to add to what they hope will be a Stanley Cup-winning machine, but the focus remains the same: Beat down your closest opponent. The Senators stand only three points behind Boston in the Northeast Division race, though the Bruins also have four games in hand against trailing Ottawa.

That shouldnt matter to a Bruins team that still hasnt won back-to-back games since the middle of January. Rather than getting caught in Joe Corvo seeking retribution, or in making things easy for the newcomers, the Bruins need to concern themselves with getting results.

Our guys do a pretty job of doing research on the players, their character and everything else around them, said Julien. The chemistry of a team always revolves around the guys in the dressing room, and the guys in the dressing room are good people. You can ask guys like Benoit Pouliot and Joe Corvo that have just come in. Those are guys in their first year and theyd tell you that its amazing how well theyve been treated.

Thats what makes us a good team. They bring everybody else right into the fold. If they dont fit in then they wont be around.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Theres little question Joe Corvo annoyed the Bs coaching staff by verbally challenging Kyle Turris a day before the big rematch against the Ottawa Senators. The Bs veteran can still salvage a very mediocre season if he can finish with a strong 22 games to end the regular season and that starts tonight in a game he should be highly motivated to play in. It should be interesting to see if he goes after Turris after backing off of his comments from Monday. It's worth noting that his playing time could be in serious jeopardy after the B's acquired two defensemen at the trade deadline.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: Ive always said that Id take a puck to the teeth for a chance to play for the Boston Bruins. Now Ill be getting that chance. newly acquired defenseman Mike Mottau, who grew up as a Bruins fan in nearby Avon, Mass.

KEY MATCHUP: The Bruins forwards vs. Ottawa rookie netminder Robin Lehner. The Bs forwards did the job against a shaky Alex Auld on Saturday night, and now theyll have to deal with a promising young goaltender in Lehner looking to step in for Craig Anderson. Lehner is big between the pipes and has plenty of big game experience below the NHL level, but the Bruins still have a chance to rattle the rookies cage a little bit if they can get traffic around the net. Traffic, rebounds and general havoc around the crease were big keys to Saturdays win.

STAT TO WATCH: 1 That's the number of two-day breaks the Bruins have for the rest of the season as theyll be playing 22 games in 40 days for a regular season gauntlet to the finish.

INJURIES: Johnny Boychuk (mild concussion), Rich Peverley (right knee sprain) and Nathan Horton (mild concussion) are out for the Bruins, but Shawn Thornton makes his return after battling a nasty flu that knocked him out for Saturdays game. For Ottawa, goaltender Craig Anderson remains out after cutting his hand with a kitchen knife, and both Peter Regin (shoulder) and Jesse Winchester (concussion) have missed significant time with injuries.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tim Thomas is expected to get the start against the Ottawa Senators with sterling numbers against them over his career. He is 13-1-0 against Northeast Division opponents this season with 12 straight wins. Robin Lehner made 28 saves in a Sunday victory over the New York Islanders and is at the beginning of his second promotion to the NHL this season. With Anderson injured and Auld struggling, the promising Lehner appears to their only hope between the pipes right now.