BOSTON — Let us assume Dwayne Roloson starts in net tonight for the Lightning.
We have to assume because coach Guy Boucher did not answer directly when asked point-blank if his No. 1 goalie would play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final against the Bruins after being pulled in Game 4 for the second time in three games.
"Roloson is getting ready for (today)," Boucher said.
For that matter, so is Mike Smith, who has stopped all 29 shots he has faced in the series, including 21 Saturday while Tampa Bay stormed back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-3 and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
The sidestepping is understandable. Boucher wants to create doubt for the Bruins.
But let's assume Roloson gets the call. There are issues.
Roloson, 41, who entered the series leading the playoffs with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage, is 0-2 in his past three games with a 5.64 goals-against average and an .820 save percentage.
Talk all you want about Lightning turnovers and bad defense, Roloson has to start making saves to give his team a chance.
Not that he is worried.
Asked Sunday if he is fighting the puck, Roloson said no.
"Actually, I felt great. It's probably the best I felt in the series," he said of Game 4, in which he allowed three goals on nine shots before being pulled with 2:02 left in the first period.
Asked if he believes he has to re-establish himself, Roloson said, "Not at all. I just have to go out and play my game, nothing different, that's it; same thing that I've said since I got here; just give us a chance to win."
Even goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said, "There's no concern on our part.
"He's doing all the right things technically. As a team, we've had some ups and downs in the series; same thing for our goaltending. The goaltending is not apart from the whole package. It's just following the tendency of how we played until now."
Roloson has a great ability to compartmentalize his performances.
He has his 12-hour rule, in which he allows himself 12 hours to think about a game, good or bad, before moving on. And he constantly talks about having "amnesia."
Smith, who said he expects Roloson to play, has perspective.
"I understand my role," he said. "As a backup goaltender, you have to be ready when you get a chance to play. So far, I've taken advantage of that. But like I said, Dwayne's our guy right now, and I understand the role he's played in getting us this far. I'm going to do everything I can to support him, and if I get another chance to get in, I'll be ready to go."
That brings us back to Boucher, who loves to dust off his psychology degree in moments such as this.
Asked if he gave any more thought to his goaltending situation, he said, "I don't feel like we've got a situation. … We've got a goaltender that has taken us here that knows how to win and knows how to bounce back."
So is Roloson playing?
"He's getting prepared for (today)," Boucher said.
Whatever his role.