March 20, 2012

Bruins' Rolston showing he's got a little something left

By Jesse Connolly

BOSTON – After arriving for his second stint in Boston on deadline day, the next two weeks were a trying time for Brian Rolston. The 39-year-old veteran winger managed to pick up just a single point in his first nine tilts with the Bruins. 

No one expected Rolston to come in and rediscover the fountain of youth, but many foresaw the once-blazingly-fast forward simply producing more. And then, suddenly, it clicked.

Rolston finally turned the tide with a goal and an assist on Thursday against the Panthers. He built off of that showing with an assist on Saturday against the Flyers. On Monday night, with the Leafs in town, Rolston simply exploded.

The 6-foot-2 winger matched a career-high with four points, contributing a goal and three assists to Boston’s 8-0, runaway win.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Rolston said when asked if he feels more comfortable now. “Obviously, I felt like when I came over I wasn’t in the shape I needed to be in. Obviously, you feel your way out and what they expect out of me and what this team is all about, and it takes some time to get comfortable. My line has put up some points the last couple games, and that’s a great thing. I think we have good chemistry as a line as well.”

Rolston and linemates Chris Kelly (one goal, one assist) and Benoit Pouliot (two goals, one assist) combined for nine points on the night and a plus-10 rating.

“Well ‘Kells’ is a player that plays in every dimension of the game. He’s great defensively, he can make things happen offensively – he’s a pleasure to play with,” Rolston said. “Benny, I know a little bit about him and what he brings. He’s a tremendously talented kid and I just think we’re supporting each other well and we’re building a little bit of chemistry. But it’s a lot of fun to play with these two guys.”

Pouliot played with Rolston for parts of two seasons with the Wild and believes the wily veteran brings plenty to the table.

“He brings age,” a laughing Pouliot quipped. “I played with him in Minny and he is the same guy that I know now. He is a leader and a great player. You get him going and he is flying. He gets those young legs going. He is feeling great and is making us feel good.  He talks a lot and it is nice to hear, to know where he is on the ice or on the bench.”

For Pouliot, Rolston and the rest of the Bruins, a night in which everything went right from start to finish was a refreshing experience.

“Well you know what, I think we deserved a game like that because we went through a stretch there it seemed everything went wrong,” Rolston said afterward. “I think a big key for us was the game against Philly. We came back and won that game and when you get wins, you get more confidence as a team. I thought we came out good tonight and you can just build on that as you go.”

On an individual level, Rolston’s confidence hasn’t been this high in quite some time. Monday night’s No. 1 star, however, said he knew when he left the Islanders to join the Bruins that he still had it in him to be a contributor.

“Yeah, I knew that I did and I know that I do,” he said. “And that can be the most frustrating thing as a player. To get this opportunity here to play, it means a lot to me.”

Stint No. 2 in Boston may have gotten off to a slow start, but judging by his recent surge, Rolston’s certainly proven there's still plenty left in his tank.