May 24, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT
Roloson has been the Lightning’s go-to goalie since he arrived in Tampa Bay via a trade with the New York Islanders. He went 18-12-4 with a 91.2 save percentage and 2.56 GAA during his regular season starts for the Lightning but really ramped things up in the playoffs, going 9-5 with a 92.5 save percentage and 2.51 GAA.
Roloson will put his undefeated streak in elimination games on the line in Game 6. (In this year’s playoffs alone, he fought off elimination three times against the Pittsburgh Penguins and only needed one chance to end the Washington Capitals’ season in Round 2.)
This decision essentially indicates that Boucher went with Roloson’s experience and reliability over Mike Smith‘s size and puck handling skills. That’s a tough break for Smith, who only allowed two tough goals in his limited playoff appearances. It seems like Smith’s passing skills are a good fit for Boucher’s 1-3-1 system, so I wonder if the team might be wise to re-sign him as their backup next season.
Still, you cannot fault Boucher for going with the “safer” choice, even if Roloson has been struggling in this series against Boston. Perhaps he simply needed a breather to get back to his previously exceptional level? You can find out in Game 6 on Versus at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
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