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Czarnik Ready for First Taste of Bruins-Habs Rivlary

Rookie missed the season's first matchup

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

MONTREAL - Austin Czarnik has heard the stories. He has been told about the passion and the intensity that come with any Boston-Montreal showdown.

But Tuesday night he gets to experience it firsthand. Czarnik missed the first matchup with the Habs earlier this season after being sent to Providence.

The 23-year-old rookie is excited for his first taste of the rivalry at Bell Centre.

"It's going to be a fun one," said Czarnik, who assisted on David Pastrnak's power-play tally during the third period of Monday night's win over Buffalo. "It's a great atmosphere to play in and one of the best in the NHL."

Czarnik, who has played just eight games in the NHL, knows how rowdy the Bell Centre crowd can be, so controlling his emotions - and even embracing the hate - will be imperative.

"You just want to play your own game," said Czarnik. "Let the crowd help you a little bit. Just go out there and play your game, do what you do best. Don't try to do too much and I think that will help us."

A natural center entering the season, Czarnik has been riding the wing with the Bruins. And since his return to the big club's lineup on October 26 against the Rangers, he has been feeling increasingly more comfortable.

It has also helped that he is now close to a month removed from a concussion suffered in the final preseason game against Philadelphia.

"I think I'm doing a lot better since those first couple games," said Czarnik, who skated on the third line alongside Matt Beleskey and Riley Nash Monday night. "I feel more confident in myself to make plays and things like that. I'm excited for this opportunity."

Video: Bruins ready for showdown with NHL-leading Canadiens

Focusing on Themselves

The Bruins know well how good a team the Montreal Canadiens (10-1-1) are. They saw it firsthand during the season's first week when the Habs handed Boston a 4-2 loss at TD Garden.

Turning the tide tonight begins with the Black & Gold concentrate on themselves, according to coach Claude Julien.

"A big one," Julien said of the challenge the NHL-leading Canadiens pose. "They're a good hockey club. I think it's a matter of us just focusing on our jobs here and understanding that you've got a good hockey club on the other side and that you have to play a real strong game in all aspects."

Having a balanced scoring attack will help, too. The Bruins got that in their win over Buffalo Monday night, an aspect of their team that had been missing for much of the season.

Players from all three lines - though three of the four goals came on the power play - made it on the scoresheet, including David Krejci and Nash, who each potted their first goals of the season.

"You've got to make yourself less predictable when your scoring is spread around," said Julien. "Hopefully that continues. It was nice to see some lines produce for us and not always rely on the same people. That was a big help."

Krug on the Way Up

Julien has been pleased with the play of Torey Krug in recent days. Krug, who has two assists through 11 games, had a helper on David Krejci's power-play goal against Buffalo and appears to be more himself after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

Video: BUF@BOS: Krejci blasts a massive slap shot for PPG

"He's coming around," said Julien. "There's no doubt he's coming around. I still think Torey can be even better, but he's coming around and that's all you can ask.

"You can't expect a player to turn it around in one game. You want to see improvement and slowly but surely you start to see him doing the better things that we've been used to seeing."

Taking it Easy

Boston did not have a full morning skate Tuesday. Zane McIntyre, Joe Morrow and Jimmy Hayes were the only Bruins to take the ice.

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