|To a ‘well rested’ Dwayne Roloson, Game 6 is ‘just another game’||05.25.11 at 3:04 pm ET|
TAMPA — On Tuesday, Lightning coach Guy Boucher justified his benching of Dwayne Roloson for Mike Smith in Game 5 as a chance to give the 41-year-old goalie a rest in the middle of the playoffs, adding that he’ll be the ‘most-rested’ player on the ice for tonight’s Game 6.
After some research, the real reason becomes fairly apparent, Roloson is 6-0 in his career in playoff elimination games, including 3-0 this season when his team erased a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh in the first round.
On Wednesday, Roloson said everybody gets rest on the day off but he’ll take it nonetheless and be ready when the puck drops for Game 6 at St. Pete Times Forum.
“I don’t think any goalie has played 82 games in a row now that they’ve changed the amount of the games we played,” Roloson said. “So, you do it during it during the regular season and there’s no difference in the playoffs. I think everyone gets rest when you get a day off so you take it when you can get it.”
The Bruins might be expecting the Lightning to play with desperation but don’t use that word around Roloson.
“For me personally, I don’t like using the word ‘desperate’. It’s one of the those words I don’t really use much in my vocabulary,” he said. “As a team, we have to just go play our system and our structure for 60, 65 or 120 or however many minutes it takes to win a hockey game.
“To me, it’s just another game. You can’t really put more emphasis on a game. You have to focus on your job, your individual job that allows your team to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s a goalie, a forward or a defenseman. Focus on the things you have to do, things you can control that gives your team a better chance to win.”
A local TV reporter followed up that answer by asking if that’s what has helped him post a 6-0 in playoff elimination games.
“I can’t answer that question,” Roloson said with a smirk. “There’s no response to that.”
OK, then. Guess we’ll have to wait until 8 p.m. to get a better one.
NESN hockey analyst Andy Brickley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to offer his views on the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins are in Tampa for Game 6 Wednesday night, holding a 3-2 series lead. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“I think the Bruins have the edge,” Brickley said. “I guess there’s a piece of them that says, ‘Look, even if we don’t win this game, we still have Game 7. We play it on home ice. We know that we’ve beaten this team three times. We’re confident. We’re coming off a victory. We’ve shown that we’re a bigger, more physical, stronger team when we execute the way we’re supposed to play. We felt that we were a deeper more balanced team coming into this playoff series.’
“So, I think the advantage goes to Boston. They feel they have another level to their game that they haven’t reached yet. They really haven’t put together that proverbial, perfect 60 minutes. They feel that if they do that, there won’t be a Game 7.”
However, Brickley predicts there will be another game in this series Friday night. “I originally said it was going to be Boston in seven … and I’m going to stand by that,” he said. “I like Boston tonight, I think they’re going to play well. But I expect to get Tampa’s best game of this series.”
Lightning coach Guy Boucher will return Dwayne Roloson to goal after giving him a break in Game 5. Brickley said he agrees with Roloson starting. “I was more surprised that he actually played Mike Smith, to be honest with you,” Brickley said. “As well as Smith has played in this series, I felt that that trust between GM, coach and goaltender when they acquired Roloson was for this purpose, was to play the biggest games, the biggest moments. I thought last game was one, and certainly tonight is another.”
|Guy Boucher goes back to Dwayne Roloson for Game 6||05.24.11 at 3:36 pm ET|
TAMPA — Maybe it’s because he didn’t like what he saw in Game 5. Or maybe it’s because he thinks Mike Smith is best coming off the bench. Or, maybe Guy Boucher wants the grizzled veteran in net for a do-or-die game with the team’s season on the line.
Whatever the real reason, Boucher announced Tuesday that he is going back to Dwayne Roloson as his starting goalie for the team’s do-or-die Game 6 against the Bruins Wednesday night at St. Pete Times Forum.
Boucher thought – with the series tied – it was time to give Roloson a blow and let him have the night off.
“He was the guy that took us here, and that’s how I felt before last game,” Boucher said Tuesday. “But like I said, I felt like it was time to give him a little breather. And at the same time I felt that Smitty played really well. So it’s a perfect situation to put Smitty in. If something were to go wrong in the previous game, put a new goaltender in for a do-or-die, I don’t think it would have been a good moment for anybody.
So this is a perfect situation. He’s going to be the only rested guy on the two teams.”
Boucher is convinced that Roloson – at the age of 41 – will come back refreshed on Wednesday night.
“He’s had tremendous stretches with us,’ Boucher said. “And I remember there was one time where it wasn’t going so well. We gave him two days off and he came back and he was outstanding after.
So he’s like everybody else. He puts — he’s one of the hardest working guys on our team. He puts in a lot of hours and a lot of time. And he’s like everybody else, at some point or another just needs to breathe a little bit.
“He needed a little break like everybody else. Whether you’re a goaltender, defenseman or forward, I know players on both sides are getting more tired as the series are evolving. And it’s normal. Everybody’s expecting that. And your most important player is your goaltender. So he’ll be rested.”
After relieving Roloson in goal in Games 2 and 4, Mike Smith made his first career playoff start and stopped 17 of 19 shots before Rich Peverley‘s empty-net goal with 12.1 seconds left sealed Monday’s Game 5 win for the Bruins.
Roloson entered the Eastern Conference finals against Boston with a playoff-leading 2.01 goals against average. That has skyrocketed to 2.52 as the Bruins beat him six times in Game 2 to tie the series and then chased him in Game 4 last Saturday. In Game 4, Roloson stopped just six of nine shots before being pulled with two minutes left in the first period when Patrice Bergeron scored shorthanded.
Smith entered the game and stopped all 21 shots he faced, allowing the Lightning to rally to a 5-3 win and even the series before Monday night’s 3-1 Bruins win.
ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and predictably talked about the play of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who allowed just one goal on 34 shots in Boston’s 3-1 win over Tampa Bay Monday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and made perhaps the best save of the playoffs in the third period on a shot from Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie. (To hear the entire interview, click over to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.)
“Last night, he was the only guy to talk about,” Melrose said. “The Bruins basically took the first half of the game off and left Timmy Thomas out to fend for himself. The guy was great. He was fantastic. He made that game-saving save later in the game. But right off the start, he was very solid. You could tell he was on his game. He was very aggressive. He was outside the crease. And that’s how you tell if Timmy’s ready to play or not. If he’s making saves inside the paint, it’s going to be a long night. If he’s out challenging and outside the paint and very aggressive, it’s going to be a good night for Timmy Thomas. Last night, he was really on his game.”
Melrose was also willing to discuss the Lightning situation between the pipes. Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher gave Mike Smith the start in net instead of Dwayne Roloson, who had started the previous four games in the conference finals. Despite Tampa Bay’s loss on Monday, Melrose said he would stick with Smith going forward.
“I think Mike Smith. I think number one it’s hard to go back to Roloson,” Melrose said. “You have a 41-year-old goaltender. You pull him twice. You bench him and then say, ‘Hey man, we made a mistake. We want you back.’ So I think it’s Mike Smith’s series now, win or lose. And Mike Smith played well, those two goals he gave were basically unstoppable. The guy handles the puck well. That created a lot of problems for Boston. If Boston falls asleep, Mike Smith will make that long pas and create a breakaway at the other end. So that gives Boston another thing to worry about when they’re looking at their gameplan.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Mike Smith leads Lightning out for Game 5||05.23.11 at 7:38 pm ET|
After the Lightning kept tight-lipped on who would start Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Mike Smith — not Dwayne Roloson — was first onto the ice Monday night as Tampa players went out for warmups.
Roloson entered the series leading all postseason goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage but was pulled in both Games 2 and 4 after the Bruins mounted large leads. Smith has stopped all 29 shots he has seen vs. the Bruins in relief. Smith went 1-2-0 against the B’s in the regular season, including allowing five goals in the Bruins’ 8-1 pounding of the Bolts on Dec. 2.
CSNNE hockey analyst Tony Amonte joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday to talk about the Bruins-Lightning series, which is tied heading into Monday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“It’s just really been a series of mistakes and capitalizing on those mistakes,” Amonte said. “And I think both teams have done that.”
Amonte pointed to an uninspired power play at the start of the second period as the beginning of the downfall for the B’s in Game 4 Saturday. Said Amonte: “They come out for a two-minute power play on fresh ice. There should be no question there, getting the puck in, getting it set up. They actually hurt themselves on the power play. They didn’t get the puck in. The effort wasn’t there. And that set the tempo for that whole period. They come out of that 3-3 and now they’re in trouble. They’re scrambling after that.”
Added Amonte: “I just think that they went into the locker room, they relaxed for a minute, they forgot about what they needed to do to be successful. And it’s just hard work. That’s what the Bruins are all about — how hard they work, how much they can outwork their opponent. That’s when they’ve been successful this postseason.
“Secondly, they lost the physical game. They got bumped around pretty bad and they didn’t react, and they didn’t adjust to it and get on the physical play themselves. They just kind of sat back, took it, and Tampa was able to take that game over.”
Amonte, who is sticking with his pre-series prediction of Bruins in six games, said he expects a quick recovery for the B’s. “I love the way the Bruins have rebounded all playoffs long,” he said. “They’ve been able to shrug these things off and move on and get into the next game. You’ve got to look for [David] Krejci‘s line tonight. I think Claude [Julien] gave them a little bit of a back-hander in the media yesterday, saying they needed to be better. Every time he’s done that, that line has stepped up and played better that next game.”
Former Bruins coach Mike Keenan joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which resume Monday night at TD Garden with the tiebreaking Game 5. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Keenan, who coached the Bruins in the 2000-01 season, one of eight NHL teams he helmed, said the B’s have to be hurting after blowing a big lead in Saturday’s Game 4 loss to the Lightning.
“How many times do you have a 3-0 lead in a series? And Boston knows this from Philadelphia [last year], it was 3-0, I hope it doesn’t end up the same result. But you have a chance to take the other team out. Then you have to look at yourself and say, ‘What happened?’ ”
Lightning backup goalie Mike Smith came off the bench and did not allow a goal Saturday, but Keenan said he would go back to Dwyane Roloson for Game 5. “He’s a calming influence for this group,” Keenan said of Roloson. “He’s got good leadership skills.”
Keenan said another reason to return to Roloson is to inspire the rest of the team. “There’s a great deal of respect, the players really like Roloson,” Keenan said. “And to show that they do, they’re going to come out and play really hard for him. And that’s part of what you take into account as well.”
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