Brian Rolston, Strong Third-Line Play Among Factors Fueling Bruins’ Recent Resurgence in Stanley Cup Run


Brian Rolston, Strong Third-Line Play Among Factors Fueling Bruins' Recent Resurgence in Stanley Cup RunA couple of weeks ago, the Bruins were in the dumps and in a funk. Mired by a slew of injuries and a lack of effort, they were in jeopardy of dropping down in the Eastern Conference standings. 

While they still have their share of problems, a return to form with wins in four of their last five games has the faithful fans feeling pretty good about the B's as the postseason quickly approaches.

The Bruins are even stacking up pretty well in the odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup. Boston has 9-1 odds, trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins (9-2), Vancouver Canucks (6-1), New York Rangers (7-1) and St. Louis Blues (15-2).

The strong play started back near the trade deadline. The media didn't say much when the Bruins quietly tinkered with their roster, but one transaction in particular has been paying dividends: the acquisition of Brian Rolston.

Rolston has fit in perfectly on the third line with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. The three are playing so well together now that they may be considered Boston’s most productive line.

Normally counted on for secondary scoring, the third line trio has combined for a whopping 26 points in its last six games. Rolston has a six-game point streak going while Kelly has picked up points in five straight. Before this stretch, Rolston had just nine points in 49 games with the New York Islanders to start the season.

The third line's resurgence is spurring a Boston team that is looking to contend for the Eastern Conference.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have the strongest odds to win the conference, at 9-4, followed by the Rangers at 11-4 and the Bruins at 9-2.

Following their East Coast trip last week, the Bruins had lost four straight and 10 of their previous 15. They had also given up 21 goals during the losing streak and appeared to be in some disarray.

But nothing builds confidence more than winning, and that's how the Bruins turned it around. They started with a gut-check 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday, then followed that with a self-esteem-building 8-0 stomping of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Their West Coast swing started with a tight 2-1 loss to San Jose, but Boston followed that with quality back-to-back wins in two days in Los Angeles and Anaheim.

By Sunday, the Bruins were feeling so good about themselves that they even gave goaltender Tim Thomas a night off. Marty Turco responded, making 25 saves in the 3-2 win and giving Thomas his first rest in 15 games. More good news kept piling on as the Bruins saw the return of winger Rich Peverley after a 19-game absence with a knee injury.

Boston has just seven games left in the regular season, and almost all appears to be well coming down the home stretch.

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