Feb 2, 2012, 11:05 AM EDT
Winners of five straight, the Tampa Bay Lighting are the Eastern Conference’s hottest team. Yet one guy largely responsible for the streak — goalie Mathieu Garon — doesn’t want to take any credit.
“When you win, it seems like all the credit goes to the goalie, and when you lose it’s the opposite,” Garon told the Tampa Bay Times. “It all depends on how the team is playing.”
Why Garon is deflecting praise? If we had to guess, it’s probably because he’s taken the No. 1 gig away from Dwayne Roloson.
The 42-year-old Roloson was a hero in Tampa Bay last year after coming over from the Islanders in early January. He posted four shutouts in his first 11 games and was a big part of the Lighting coming within a game of the Stanley Cup finals.
This year? Different story. Roloson ranks 45th — dead last — among the league’s GAA leaders and 44th in save percentage. As such, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has turned the reins over to Garon, who has won his last four starts with a 2.22 GAA and .918 save percentage.
“I know Roli is chomping at the bit and wants more, and I understand that,” Boucher said. “But right now Garon has given us solid consistency. We’re kind of riding that.”
Riding it indeed. Garon got the nod for Tuesday’s win over Washington (where he assisted on Steve Stamkos‘ game-winning goal) and will be back in tonight against Winnipeg, his fifth start in the last six games. With Tampa slowly creeping back into the playoff picture — the Bolts are just nine points back of New jersey for eighth place — wins will be at a premium, so expect to see Garon plenty more down the stretch.
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