TAMPA — Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson gave up four goals on 20 shots in Wednesday's Game 6 of the East final against the Bruins. He called it "a bunch." He also said he really didn't care.
"It doesn't matter," Roloson said. "We won the game. I don't care if we win 21-20. As long as we win, that's all that matters."
After being pulled in Games 2 and 4 and watching from the bench as backup Mike Smith played Game 5, Roloson returned to the net Wednesday with the season at stake. Local radio talk shows, newspapers and national television analysts debated whom the Lightning should start in goal. Not that the 41-year-old Roloson, acquired at midseason for games such as Wednesday's, noticed.
"I don't read what is printed, and I don't watch TV," he said. "It's just about focusing on what I've got to do to help our team win. It's all about the team here. It's probably, besides Game 1, the best I've felt the whole series."
Roloson's night started a bit wobbly as he surrendered two goals in the first after the Lightning took a 1-0 lead. Then again, Roloson could hardly be blamed on either goal. Still, at times, he seemed to fight the puck. When he allowed two goals on Boston's first three shots in the third, the Lightning found itself biting nails, trying to preserve a 5-4 lead.
That's when Roloson was at his best, keeping the Bruins from getting the tying goal.
"He did a super job, especially when it was 5-4," Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "Roli made some huge saves."
Coach Guy Boucher's assessment wasn't high with praise but not all that different than Roloson's: "We won. That's all. That's what we're asking. We're asking for a chance to win, and that's what we got."
Not that anyone should be surprised. After all, Roloson is now 7-0 in games in which his team faces elimination.
"I wasn't aware of that," Roloson said. "I don't think it has meaning. It's the team I've played on."
Now the team he plays on faces another elimination game Friday night in Boston because Roloson and the Lightning, again, staved off elimination Wednesday.
Tom Jones can be reached at email@example.com.