<
>

Joe Corvo finds his groove

BOSTON -- Last season the Boston Bruins were somehow able to win the Stanley Cup in spite of an atrocious power play that ranked 20th in the regular season and 14th among 16 teams in the playoffs. So in the offseason general manager Peter Chiarelli knew he had to address that area, especially when it became evident that puck-moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle wasn't going to return. That's why on the same day Kaberle signed with the Hurricanes, Chiarelli plucked another puck-moving blueliner off the Carolina Hurricanes, trading for Joe Corvo. But just as Kaberle did when he arrived in Boston at the 2011 trade deadline, Corvo struggled to fit in the Bruins' system -- until the past two games.

After going six games without a point and having just three assists prior to that, Corvo has caught fire, and the Bruins' power play has too. Corvo got an assist in Monday's 6-2 win over the Islanders and then had three helpers -- including two on the power play -- in the Bruins' 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. The slick defenseman appears to be finding his groove along with the rest of the team, which has with 24 goals in the past four games.

"He's getting more comfortable," head coach Claude Julien said of Corvo. "He's understanding our system better -- not that he didn't at the beginning -- but you've got to kind of go into a game, and you can't be thinking about everything you're doing out there. It's got to be done instinctively, and that's what he's starting to do now. He's just reacting to a situation instead of overthinking it."

Corvo has been feeling his confidence grow recently.

"Yeah, well I've been kind of feeling it the last three games, like something was going to happen," Corvo said. "I think I've been feeling a lot more calm out there, and making things happen. I was just waiting for that big night to happen and it was tonight."

Just as many of the Bruins had to do in the team's slow start, Corvo battled through his own funk. Julien credited him for his perseverance.

"We're always looking for reasons, but I think it's more about feeling better, first of all," Julien said. "He's probably more comfortable, for one thing. The other thing is, he's really playing better. Players have slow starts, players don't have the starts they'd like, and I'm sure he's one of those guys that felt he could have been a better player earlier on. You've got to give him an opportunity to work his way out of it, and that's just the way we deal with things around here, we kind of support and help players work their way out of it. As long as you see the work ethic and the desire, you can work with those guys, and that's what he's done. He's just starting to come around, and I think we're starting to see the Joe Corvo that we knew we were getting when we got him this summer."

Corvo has always liked the offensive side of the game, and lately he is pinching down low more to create scoring chances for his teammates and himself.

"That's what I've been trying to do a lot more, is get involved with the play and jump up and just be right behind the forwards for anything that might turn over, or rebounds or passes or anything," Corvo said. "And I feel like it gets me more into the game and thinking more offensively and I think I play better that way."

With his game picking up speed and the Bruins on a roll, he plans on continuing to play his style and help his team in the process.

"I mean, obviously it makes me feel good, especially when the team wins and that happens and I get to contribute and do the things that I was brought here to do," Corvo said. "So I'm going to obviously feel a sense of satisfaction from that, and just try to keep the ball rolling into the next game and hopefully keep winning."