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Corvo aware of crowded blue line

Ottawa’s Erik Condra got too fancy and missed this glittering chance in the second period. Ottawa’s Erik Condra got too fancy and missed this glittering chance in the second period. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / February 29, 2012
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The fact that the Bruins acquired two defensemen in Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau Monday was not lost on Joe Corvo.

Assuming Johnny Boychuk recovers from his concussion and the rest of the blue line stays healthy, there will be eight defensemen competing for six jobs. In such a scenario, it is realistic that Corvo could be in a suit instead of a uniform.

“You can definitely count the numbers,’’ said Corvo before last night’s 1-0 loss to Ottawa, “and figure out that somebody’s got to sit.’’

Given the nature of head injuries, it is impossible to project when Boychuk will be available. He missed last night’s game because of the brain-rattler he absorbed from Ottawa’s Chris Neil Saturday.

But if Boychuk can return for the stretch run and the playoffs, Corvo could be the odd man out. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg might be reunited to form the top power pairing. Boychuk and Andrew Ference skated together during last year’s playoffs. Zanon and Adam McQuaid could round out the six-pack.

Corvo, who has played in 45 career postseason games, would be on the bubble. Brian Rolston, who has manned the point on the power play throughout his career, could assume Corvo’s man-advantage role. Corvo does not kill penalties.

“Really happy,’’ coach Claude Julien said yesterday of getting reinforcements. “We’ve talked about having some depth. The depth we got are experienced players.

“Depth doesn’t mean they don’t belong in our lineup. It just means we’ve got a lot more options now. We’ve run into some injuries lately. It’s been a challenge in itself to keep our lineup going in the right direction. Now there’s a little bit more breathing room as far as putting some guys in that have been around for a while.’’

Corvo, acquired from Carolina for a 2012 fourth-round pick last July 5, has had more valleys than peaks as a Bruin. He has 3 goals and 19 assists while averaging almost 19 minutes of ice time. On the power play, Corvo has just 1 goal and 7 assists.

However, Corvo’s game has rounded into sharper form lately. He had an assist in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Senators. He logged 22:43 of ice time in Friday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Buffalo and 20:43 last night.

Corvo has played with more confidence and less indecision. When he is on top of his game, he can connect with seam passes and rush the puck out of the defensive zone better than his blue line mates.

If Corvo continues to play this way, he could make the coaches’ decision a hard one.

“It’s obviously been a slow year,’’ Corvo acknowledged. “But I feel like I’ve been making strides lately and playing well. That’s all I’m concerned about - playing well and feeling good about my game.’’

Glad to be here

Rolston and Mottau played in their first game last night following their arrival from the Islanders Monday. Rolston centered the third line between Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron.

Rolston landed four hits, blocked two shots, and won five of nine faceoffs in 8:21 of ice time. Rolston was on the point alongside Chara for the first two power plays. He ceded his spot to Ference for the final two power plays.

“It felt OK,’’ Rolston said. “It’s good to get that one behind me, that’s for sure. You have a little nerves, especially coming in. Motts and I both got that one behind us. We’ll move on and be better the next game.’’

Mottau, who was paired with Adam McQuaid, had one shot, one hit, and one blocked shot in 10:49 of action.

“It’s always hard to judge those guys,’’ said Julien. “The guys around them didn’t do very well. They didn’t look bad. But they probably would have looked even better if we’d been better around them.’’

Horton still out

Nathan Horton sat out his 15th straight game last night because of a concussion he suffered Jan. 22 against Philadelphia. It is unknown when or if he can play again this season . . . Before the game, Corvo apologized for Monday’s angry outburst toward Ottawa’s Kyle Turris. Corvo didn’t like Turris’s head shot in Saturday’s game. After Monday’s practice, he termed it a dirty hit and said he’d be looking for Turris. Yesterday, Corvo backed off. “I felt bad about putting myself ahead of the team,’’ Corvo said. “Our main priority is to win the game. My main priority is to win the game. Whatever comes along with the game, comes along with the game. I’m sorry I said it. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back. I’ll focus on the game. That definitely was a little bit of foot-in-mouth syndrome.’’ Turris declined Corvo’s first-period invitation to fight. “His teammates said he wasn’t going to fight me, so that’s it,’’ Corvo said. “I wasn’t going to be the idiot chasing him around.’’

Zanon in town

Zanon arrived in Boston yesterday morning but didn’t play last night. He will practice with his new teammates today and be available for tomorrow’s game against New Jersey . . . Ference replaced Boychuk as Chara’s partner last night. Ference played 22:29, the most action he’s seen since Dec. 14 against Ottawa. In that game, Ference played 27:33 . . . Turris led all players with six shots . . . The Bruins had only five shots during four power plays . . . Shawn Thornton, who was out against the Senators Saturday because of illness, returned to last night’s lineup. Max Sauve, recalled from Providence on an emergency basis yesterday morning, was the healthy scratch.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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