Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Forward Brain Rolston (Boston Bruins), goaltender Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins), and forward Cody Hodgson (Buffalo Sabres) are the three stars of the week in the Northeast for March 16-22.
First Star: Brian Rolston, RW, Boston Bruins: Acquired at the deadline to bolster their veteran playoff depth, Rolston has been a solid offensive contributor this past week for the Bruins. After 49 games with the New York Islanders this year, Rolston had only managed a total of 9 points. As of last night, the 39-year-old has already matched those totals in 13 games with the Bruins. This week, Rolston has caught a bit of fire offensively, managing one goal and five helpers in three games. While most of his points this week came as a result of the Bruins 8-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s exactly the type of depth scoring the Bruins wanted out of Rolston when he was acquired.
Second Star: Tim Thomas, G, Boston Bruins: Looking to get back on the right track, Thomas has stepped his game up this week for the Bruins. Prior to last night’s contest, Thomas had a 2-0 record this week, with a 0.96 goals against average and a 0.952 save percentage. His first win this week came in a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, turning aside 27 of 29 shots through four periods. The lopsided victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday had Thomas facing only 13 shots, but also picking up a shutout. Last night against the San Jose Sharks, Thomas stood strong as he attempted to keep the Bruins in the game after they failed to generate any offense. He turned aside 25 of 27 shots in the loss. It would be as good a time as any for Thomas to start rounding into playoff form, as the Bruins make their final push to capture the division title.
Third Star: Cody Hodgson, C, Buffalo Sabres: Expectations were rather high for Hodgson after the Sabres traded power forward prospect Zack Kassian to the Vancouver Canucks to acquire Hodgson. After going pointless in his prior 10 games’ leading up to this week, Hodgson has started to find the score sheet again. The 22-year-old scored his first two points (two assists) as a Sabre in their 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Hodgson then followed it up with a two-goal performance in a key match-up against the division rival Montreal Canadiens. The Sabres will need offense from all sources down the stretch and any scoring depth that Hodgson can provide will be huge for the club.
Northeast Division Notes
Boston Bruins: After finding their offensive touch against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins failed to carry over their offensive ways against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. The Bruins only managed 17 shots and lost 2-1. The Bruins will continue their Western road trip with a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and then head to Anaheim for a game against the Ducks on Sunday.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres will kick off back-to-back games this weekend starting tonight in New York for a game vs. the Rangers. They will then host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Jason Pominville is approaching the 30-goal plateau, he currently sits at 28. He’s surpassed 30 goals once in his NHL career. Ryan Miller is expected to start tonight.
Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price is scheduled to start in goal tonight as the Canadiens host the Ottawa Senators. Then, it’s off to Philadelphia for a game against the Flyers. The Canadiens Petteri Nokelainen missed practise for maintenance purposes on Thursday.
Ottawa Senators: Craig Anderson will return to the Senators net tonight against the Canadiens, he’s missed the past four weeks with a severed tendon. Missing the last game against the New Jersey Devils, Jason Spezza will return to the Senators lineup to play his 600th game. After Friday’s visit to Montreal the Senators will return home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs are in New Jersey tonight for a game against the Devils. They will then return home to host the New York Rangers. Nazem Kadri and Ryan Hamilton were recalled on emergency basis from Toronto (AHL). Matt Frattin (lower body) and Clarke MacArthur (upper body) are listed as day-to-day. Joffrey Lupul was announced as the teams’ nominee for the Masterson Trophy.