Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview

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Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview

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.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."