Marc of a man

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

BOSTON -- Yesterday, Marc Pouliot had the jacket.

The retro, muskrat-collared, red leather coat the Oilers award to their player of the game was given to the young centre, who was called up last Thursday and had a goal and an assist Sunday.

"He's been good, very good," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"His ice time has been reflective of that. He's a smart, heady player and obviously the pace of his game has improved.

STEPPING UP

"The challenge before was to keep the pace at that level, and sometimes it dropped off as his ice time dropped off. But as long as we've got the injuries he's going to play."

In Sunday's 5-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, Pouliot, 21, had two points.

He had close to 15 minutes of ice time, killed penalties and had a short stint on the power play.

"Things are going well right now. I want to keep that going," Pouliot said.

"The confidence is high. When you're hot you don't want to get cold because it's hard to get hot again.

"Coach has given me a great chance to let me play and it's a great opportunity to show what I can do. I want to prove what type of player I am."

The Oilers have high hopes for Pouliot, considering he was their first pick - 22nd overall - in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The native of Quebec City started the year in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

RECALLED

He was called up on Nov. 30 and played 18 games, scoring two goals and adding one assist before being sent back down.

Pouliot was recalled again on Thursday and centred Raffi Torres and Fernando Pisani - before Pisani was injured - on the Oilers' second line.

"It would be real nice to see him play as well as he has and add that element to our collection of forwards," MacTavish said.

Against the Thrashers, Pouliot took a pass from Ales Hemsky in the high slot and fired a shot past goaltender Johan Hedberg.

Pouliot then set up Torres for the fifth goal of the game on the powerplay in the third period.

"Hemsky's got magic hands," Pouliot said.

"You just want to make sure that you're an option because you know you're going to get the puck on your tape."

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WHO TO WATCH

DWAYNE ROLOSON, OILERS

Was solid for the Oilers in their last two wins. Will be the key on the current road trip.

ZDENO CHARA, BRUINS

Bruins emptied their wallet to sign the big defenceman, who is averaging a point per game.

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GAME NOTES

Forward Patrice Bergeron is the Bruins' second-leading scorer. He also has the team's worst plus-minus rating. Heading into tonight's game, Bergeron was at -21 for the season. Wayne Primeau was at -22, but he was traded to the Calgary Flames on Friday ... The Bruins are trying to get their money's worth out of Zdeno Chara. The six-foot-seven defenceman is averaging 28:43 minutes of ice time a night.

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HURT PARADE

OILERS -- LW Ethan Moreau (shoulder), D Daniel Tjarnqvist (groin), Jarret Stoll (concussion), Fernando Pisani (concussion).

BRUINS -- Chuck Kobasew (elbow).

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THEY SAID

"I've tried to cut Ryan back ... But now we've got to use him more prominently in the penalty kill."

- Craig MacTavish on using Ryan Smyth on the penalty kill following injuries to Jarret Stoll and Fernando Pisani.


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