A couple of Tampa Bay Lightning records could fall tonight at Times Forum against the Capitals
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson has played 124 minutes, 3 seconds without allowing a goal. He needs 22 minutes, 11 seconds tonight against the Capitals to set a new team record for consecutive shutout minutes by a Lightning goaltender at home. The record is 146:13 set last season by Antero Niittymaki.
The team also has 124:03 of consecutive shutout minutes. It needs 34:40 more to break the record of 158:42 set in January 2006.
Roloson is on a roll, too. The goalie has won consecutive shutouts and has shut out the Capitals in consecutive games as well.
"I gives our team all the credit," he said. "They limit a lot of their quality chances. It gives me an opportunity to make saves and makes my job a little easier."
As for perhaps gaining some energy from Washington's Matt Bradley who called the game the most important of the year for the Caps, Roloson said no. "For us, every game is important," he said. "I think every game is a must win. They're not saying anything negative or way out there. For us, it's a must win, too. You go out there and play it like a Game 7."
It actually is an enormous game for Washington which comes in five points behind Tampa Bay in the Southeast. Falling seven behind with 29 games left as opposed to three behind is a significant difference.
"This has nothing to do with them," Boucher said of the Capitals. "If we focus on what they say and what they think, we're not focusing on what we've got to do and how we think the game. We know we're playing a great team. We know we're playing a team that's hungry. But it doesn't affect what we're supposed to do."
Other stuff from this morning: There will be a shirt with the Lightning's new logo on every seat at tonight's game. The new logo also is on the ice. ... Can't buy any jerseys yet, but there is plenty of other merchandise with the new logo in the building. ... As we have said, announcements regarding jobs within the organization will be made tonight for team founder Phil Esposito and former captain Dave Andreychuk. While the official titles are still being worked out, apparently, Espo will be VP of corporate affairs, Andreychuk will be VP for fan/business development. ... In Mattias Ritola's continuing battle against Meniere's disease, the forward on Thursday began wearing a hearing aid in his right ear. Ritola, deaf in his left ear because, he said, of viruses he had as a child in his native Sweden, also has problems hearing in his right ear because of his condition. Trying to hear what his teammates and coaches are saying to him has at times been difficult. Ritola said that has caused him stress, and he said doctors have told him stress can trigger an attack. The hearing aid already has helped, he said. Ritola had not had an attack since mid December, when he went on a new medication and began wearing ear plugs to mitigate the pressure in his head from flying, which is thought to be a factor in triggering attacks. But just before warmups for the Jan. 25 game with the Maple Leafs, the disease struck with what Ritola described as feeling like a migraine headache and he could not play. "It's really frustrating," Ritola said. "I feel good and feel more confident after every game, and then to have this thing going again, it's of course frustrating. You want to be fresh all the time. I do everything I can to keep it away. Hopefully, this will do it." Said coach Guy Boucher: "The tough part for him was that he was improving so much. The last game he played (Jan. 23 vs. Atlanta) he was great out there. We were seeing a guy who was really figuring it out and earning a spot on the team. The issue right now is how do we get this guy to be available for any game?" Ritola said that the team has been so patient and supportive has been "huge," and at least he is going in the right direction. "When I got here I had like three attacks a week. It was awful. I could barely stand up. Lately, it's just like a huge migraine. I'm dizzy. My eyes don't follow me. It's not as big as it used to be, so that's good, too." ... Defenseman Mike Lundin (abdomen/groin) skated this morning and said he is good to go against Washington. He said doctors have checked for and ruled out a sports hernia. "It's not too limiting once you get the adrenaline going and the body warmed up." ... Wing Ryan Malone (mid-body injury) probably could have played, but Boucher said Sunday against the Blues or Tuesday against the Sabres is more likely. "There are a lot of games left, and we want to make sure it's not for one game. We try to get him in one game, and then if he's out for two weeks we're not better off. Sometimes waiting those few extra days makes all the difference."