The Boston Bruins were one of the more active teams before the NHL's trade deadline, and they'll try to use that improved depth to secure another Northeast Division title.
The Bruins can help themselves in that race Tuesday night by continuing their recent mastery of their closest challengers, the Ottawa Senators.
In one of its two deals Monday, Boston acquired veteran forward Brian Rolston, who played for the team from 1999-2004, and defenseman Mike Mottau, a former Hobey Baker Award winner at Boston College, from the New York Islanders for a pair of prospects.
The Bruins also got Greg Zanon from Minnesota for Steve Kampfer in a swap of defensemen.
"When we go out and we look for these types of players that are rentals we look to see that the players are motivated," general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "I talked to all three of these guys and they're excited and they want to win. They say what I want to hear when I call them when you acquire them in a trade. We won last year and we want to try and win again."
Boston (37-20-3) can help itself in the drive for another Stanley Cup by claiming a third Northeast title in four seasons, but the Senators (33-23-8) are only three points behind. Ottawa is 6-1-1 in its last eight games and has outscored those opponents 36-18, but the lone regulation defeat was 5-3 at home to Boston on Saturday.
Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza helped the Senators bounce back with a 5-2 win over the Islanders the next day, with Karlsson's two goals and two assists giving him a team-record 65 points for a defenseman.
"I'm going to have to wait until after the season to think about it," Karlsson said of the record. "We've scored a lot of goals here over the last couple of games and obviously that helps out a lot."
After recording one goal over six contests, Karlsson has six goals and 11 assists during a seven-game streak. Spezza has eight goals and 12 assists during a nine-game run.
Both players had three points against Boston this past weekend, but Ottawa couldn't overcome an early 4-1 deficit while dropping to 0-4-0 in the season series.
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist in the first period and added an empty-netter in the third to help his team improve to 2-0-1 following a 3-6-0 start to this month.
Alex Auld started in net for Ottawa on Saturday because Craig Anderson is out indefinitely after cutting his right hand last week.
Robin Lehner, though, might start this game after stopping 28 shots against the Islanders. He suffered a 4-2 defeat in his only matchup with Boston on Feb. 18, 2011.
The Senators got some goaltending help Sunday by acquiring Ben Bishop from St. Louis for a 2013 second-round pick. They also picked up defenseman Matt Gilroy, a former Hobey Baker winner at Boston University, from Tampa Bay before the deadline for defenseman Brian Lee.
Gilroy is expected to be in the lineup as the Senators try to snap an eight-game skid to their division rivals and avoid a fifth straight loss in Boston.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas might have the chance to help extend those streaks. He's posted a 2.00 goals-against average during six consecutive wins over Ottawa and a 1.75 GAA in the four straight home victories in the series.