TAMPA — It's one thing to be the league's oldest player. It's another when a teammate adds a year to your age.
While complimenting Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson for his 28-save, 1-0 victory over the Jets on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, captain Vinny Lecavalier said Roloson was 43.
"Yeah, somebody was saying that," said Roloson, who is 42. "He's got a newborn at home, so I'll give him a pass on that one. He's probably working on a couple hours' sleep a night."
Kidding aside, Roloson played like he has been drinking from the Fountain of Youth and made Lecavalier's power-play goal from an impossible angle with 32.9 seconds left in the second period stand up.
It was the 12th straight win for Tampa Bay over the Jets/Thrashers, the league's longest active streak by one franchise over another.
"He really battled," Lecavalier said of Roloson. "He played hard and made a lot of huge saves."
It was exactly the kind of result Roloson needed, not only for the Lightning (5-4-2) but himself.
Roloson had not started since Oct. 17, when he gave up seven goals on 33 shots to the Panthers in a 7-4 loss, the end of a three-game skid in which he allowed 17 goals. So, while Mathieu Garon made the next four starts, going 3-1-0, Roloson worked with goaltenders coach Frantz Jean.
"His positioning was good," Jean said of Roloson on Saturday. "He let the game come to him. He was getting in the lanes and waiting for the puck."
He was particularly good in the third period, in which Tampa Bay was not as confident with the puck and was outshot 11-3, and he made a scrambling save on Andrew Ladd with one second left.
He stuck out his right leg to stop Evander Kane's breakaway with 6:51 left in the second period and then Alex Burmistrov's rebound shot.
"I don't know if it went off my toe or the post," Roloson said. "It doesn't really matter if I stopped it or not. It didn't cross the line."
How Lecavalier's shot from the right-wing boards near the goal line got past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was anybody's guess.
Pavelec, who had just stopped Steven Stamkos' shot, said he believed the puck was at the blue line. Lecavalier, who has three winners among his five goals, said he was going to pass, "but I saw a bit of an opening, and I guess I surprised him."
Still, the story was Roloson, who, with 29 career shutout, praised his teammates for "blocking shots and doing a lot of great stuff for me to see the puck."
"I knew he was going to bounce back," coach Guy Boucher said, "absolutely, no surprise at all."
Not bad for a 43-, er, 42-year-old.
First Period—None. Penalties—Moore, TB (goaltender interference), 9:59; Enstrom, Wpg (tripping), 17:42.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 5 (Stamkos, Brewer), 19:20 (pp). Penalties—Glass, Wpg (roughing), 2:14; Glass, Wpg (high-sticking), 8:46; Kubina, TB (interference), 14:48; Stuart, Wpg (holding), 18:54.
Third Period—None. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Winnipeg 10-7-11—28. Tampa Bay 11-13-3—27. Power-play opportunities—Winnipeg 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. Goalies—Winnipeg, Pavelec 2-4-1 (27 shots-26 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 2-2-1 (28-28).