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Tampa Bay Lightning's Dwayne Roloson gets no support in Game 7 against Boston Bruins

Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson, who had won his first seven career elimination games, makes one of his 37 saves. “It’s one of those things; puck luck,” he says, “and things like that happen.”

DIRK SHADD | Times

Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson, who had won his first seven career elimination games, makes one of his 37 saves. “It’s one of those things; puck luck,” he says, “and things like that happen.”

BOSTON — Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis shook goalie Dwayne Roloson's hand in a somber locker room Friday night, then shook his head.

Roloson had given Tampa Bay a chance with a spectacular performance in a 1-0 loss to the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. His teammates wish they could have given the 41-year-old veteran more to work with.

Roloson was on top of his game, making 37 saves as the Bruins peppered him with several great scoring chances.

"What else can you ask from your goaltender?" wing Ryan Malone said.

Said center Steven Stamkos: "Roli played outstanding. He played the game we needed him to play. It's too bad we couldn't find one (goal)."

In the end, Roloson's streak of seven wins in elimination games was snapped, one shy of a league record. But it wasn't his fault. In a series in which Roloson struggled at times, getting pulled from Games 2 and 4 and giving up four goals on 20 shots in Game 6, he bounced back.

"I felt good. I felt good the whole series," said Roloson, who can become an unrestricted free agent. "It's one of those things; puck luck, and things like that happen. Unfortunately, I didn't do a good enough job to give our guys a chance to win."

One of Roloson's best saves came in the first period, when wing Milan Lucic came in on a breakaway. Roloson held his ground and steered the shot away.

"I just tried to stay with him," Roloson said. "I was able stay with him and get a piece of it, and it went to the corner."

There also was Roloson's pad saves on center Brad Marchand with just more than two minutes left in the second and on a two-on-one late in the game. The only goal Roloson gave up was on a picture-perfect pass from David Krejci to Nathan Horton, who was in the crease and tapped it in.

"I was just tying to stay with the guy out wide," Roloson said, "and the puck sort of goes under (the defenseman's) stick, and they get an empty-net goal."

Coach Guy Boucher said he could see his team's energy level going down but "Roli really stood the fort."

"It was a one-goal game — just one goal takes you to the Stanley Cup final," Boucher said. "So I don't think he could have stopped that puck, and I don't think he could have done better than what he did.

"I mean, 41 years old. Can't do more than that. It's impressive. It's mental toughness. He had a little lull in some of the previous games and to come back that strong in the seventh game, it's just a credit to the man. That's impressive. That's really impressive."

Roloson's performance was reminiscent of how he played for most of the postseason, helping get the Lightning to within one win from the Stanley Cup final.

"He kept us alive," Malone said. "It's unfortunate we couldn't give him any support."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

Tampa Bay Lightning's Dwayne Roloson gets no support in Game 7 against Boston Bruins 05/27/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 28, 2011 12:41am]
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