Dwayne Roloson got one practice to acclimate himself to his new team and now is getting thrown into the fire when he starts in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday in a big Southeast Division game in Washington.
"We obviously made a trade because we think he's a very good goaltender," coach Guy Boucher said. "He's part of the team now so there's no use waiting. It's important he gets accustomed to the team and vice versa."
It's also important Roloson tries to make a difference to a team that is challenging the Capitals for supremacy in the division but has had a terrible time even playing its game against Washington. The Lightning was outplayed in almost every aspect in its two losses this season at the Verizon Center. Beyond the nuance of the game, Tampa Bay was outscored 12-3.
But stability is really what Tampa Bay is looking for in net, and it is a stretch to believe that a goaltender such as Roloson, who has been in the playoffs and a Stanley Cup series will be thrown for a loop by a big regular-season game.
"Realistically, all I believe in is going out and trying to give my guys a chance to win, day in and day out," said Roloson, acquired Saturday night for minor-league defenseman Ty Wishart. "I try not to put any extra pressure on myself. I try to control the things I can control, and give ourselves a chance to win. If I can do that, that's great. That's all I'm looking for."
For the time being, goaltending duties will be split between Roloson and Dan Ellis. Mike Smith is on the four-game road trip that starts against the Capitals, but is still nursing a left-knee sprain. Boucher admitted the situation will be uncomfortable, but said it is manageable while only two goalies are healthy.
"I don't think in the short term it is a problem," Boucher said. "By the time the other guy is ready to come back a million things can happen. I've seen it so many times. You prepare for something and all of a sudden the situation is not there and we're down to two again. Right now we have two who can play. When we have three, we'll take care of it."
Roloson, who was part of a three-goalie rotation with the Oilers, did not seem to concerned.
"It's out of our control," he said after Monday's practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. "I can't focus on that. You go out and you do your job and whatever is going to happen is going to happen. It doesn't really matter. We have to focus on what we're going to do."
In other news, right wing Steve Downie (ankle) is expected to play against Washington.