TAMPA — Their star goaltender was pulled after allowing six goals on 27 shots in Tuesday’s Game 2.
But Tampa Bay isn’t afraid that Dwayne Roloson has lost his luster after taking the league’s best goals-against average and save percentage into the Eastern Conference Final, which continues with Game 3 tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.
“We know how well he plays when all the stats are thrown out. But we’ve seen him bounce back as a team all year,” said Lightning star forward Steven Stamkos after his team’s morning skate. “We’re not worried about ‘Rolli.’ He’s been a great competitor all year. He’s been in this league for a long time. He knows how to react after situations like that. So he’s going to be fine.”
At 41 years old, there’s not a lot Roloson hasn’t experienced or overcome. So giving up six goals and getting pulled after two periods shouldn’t hinder his performance in Game 3. He learned a long time ago how to forget past performances in wins or losses.
“It’s just one of those things. It’s a trait that you have to learn,” said Roloson, who still has the best save percentage (.931) and second-best GAA (2.37) among goaltenders on the final four NHL teams. “But for me, my second year in the minors, working with Paul Baxter, who was the head coach, and then moving up to the NHL and having Brian Sutter as a coach. They’re very demanding coaches, but at the same time they’re very cognizant on what’s going what an individual needs.
“Both of them, they’re hard and demanding, but at the same time telling you OK we’re going to be hard on you so you’ve got to learn to deal with it. Between the two of them, it was definitely a big help to be able to forget about things that happened in the past.”