Brian Rolston’s Resurgence Has Linemates Questioning His Age, But Not His Production on Bruins’ Red-Hot Third Line


Brian Rolston's Resurgence Has Linemates Questioning His Age, But Not His Production on Bruins' Red-Hot Third LineBOSTON – Brian Rolston has 11 points in his last six games and 12 points overall in 15 games since joining the Bruins. This after managing just nine points in 49 games with the Islanders this season.

But it’s not the recent rise in production of the veteran forward that his linemate finds hard to believe. It’s the date on Rolston’s birth certificate that center Chris Kelly questions.

"I don't think he's 39," Kelly said after Tuesday's morning skate. "Maybe 29. We're extremely fortunate to have him. He brings a lot to the table, not only the goals and points, but he plays the game on a consistent basis. He shows up to play every game and he plays in all three zones. Guys like him know what it takes to play for a long time and to win in this league."

Rolston actually did turn 39 last month, but he doesn't feel old after being rejuvenated with the trade back to Boston.

"Yeah, I forged my birth certificate," Rolston joked. "I actually feel great physically. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of this team."

The line of Kelly, Rolston and Benoit Pouliot has helped make things more enjoyable of late. That trio has combined for 9-17-26 totals with three game-winning goals and a plus-23 rating in the last six games.

"There's times throughout the course of the year that things just click and the points come and the goals come," Kelly said. "I think as a line, we've each been around for a while, Rollie a lot longer than Benny and myself, but we know that consistency has to be there each and every night. Regardless of if you're scoring or you're not scoring, you need to be one of those lines that can be depended on regardless of how the game's going."

Pouliot's sudden scoring surge may be as surprising as Rolston's resurgence. Pouliot managed just three points in 24 games from mid-January through the start of March. He was just starting to come around with a goal and two assists in three games before a lower-body injury sidelined him for three games, but he picked right back up upon his return with 3-5-8 totals in the last six games skating with Rolston and Kelly.

"You can see why he was a high first-round draft pick," Kelly said of Pouliot, the fourth overall pick of the 2005 draft by Minnesota. "He skates extremely well. I know that was a long time ago, but he skates extremely well and he shoots the puck extremely well. He battles in the corners. He's a smart hockey player."

Kelly has shown his smarts in all aspects of the game as well in this recent run. He's put up 3-4-7 totals to go with a plus-8 rating, two game-winning goals and even his career-high third fighting major of the season over the course of the last half dozen games.

Kelly has been outstanding all season long, already setting a career-high with 19 goals and moving into second place in the league in plus/minus at plus-31, behind only teammate Patrice Bergeron's plus-32.

But it's still Rolston who has been the biggest surprise with his unexpected resurgence, as he's proving that his age is just a number, and that number is not nearly as impressive as his recent point total.

"He's always been a great skater, so guys like that, when they age, they're skating certainly helps them through the game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's excited and it doesn't matter how old you are, whether you're a rookie or a veteran, when you get excited about playing, good things happen. I think right now he's enjoying being here. I think he's enjoying his teammates. He's enjoying playing on that line and they're having a lot of success. That's why they've been kept together."

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