These are the moments for which Tampa Bay picked up Dwayne Roloson.
It didn’t take long for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman this season to realize he wasn’t going to get far with a goaltending tandem of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis. So he swung the trade with the New York Islanders for Roloson. The Lightning finished fifth in the Eastern Conference with the team’s first playoff berth in four years.
Last night, Roloson further validated that trade by making 27 saves on 29 shots in a 4-2 Game 6 win over Pittsburgh in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. For his efforts in keeping the Lightning alive and forcing a Game 7, Roloson is the TheBruinsBlog.net Star of the Night.
Roloson made saves of the pedestrian and spectacular variety in the victory. Some of his biggest stops came after the Penguins had tied the game at 2 in the third period. Dave Lozo of NHL.com describes the action what ensued after Jordan Staal’s tying goal:
Maxime Talbot was bearing down on Roloson just seconds later with a clear-cut breakaway. With the Lightning trailing 3-2 in the series, not only was the game on the line, but so was the season. Roloson stopped Talbot not once, but twice, then made another brilliant save on Pascal Dupuis to keep the game tied. Thirty seconds later, Steve Downie scored the game-winning goal that allowed the Lightning to prevail 4-2 and force a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
The Lightning haven’t played in a Game 7 since the night they won the 2004 Stanley Cup. This upcoming game doesn’t have the same ramifications, but it’s still a big contest in franchise history and another chance for Roloson to prove what a wonder he is at 41 years old.
Honorable mention: Steve Downie (1-2-3, GWG) of Tampa Bay; Joe Thornton (1-1-2, GWG OT) of San Jose; Trevor Lewis (1-1-2) of Los Angeles.
Last night’s scores
Tampa Bay 4, Pittsburgh 2
San Jose 4, Los Angeles 3 (OT)
Boston at Montreal, 7
Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7:30
Chicago at Vancouver, 10