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Tampa Bay Lightning's Dwayne Roloson maintains even keel with 12-hour rule

TAMPA — Dwayne Roloson said he lives by the 12-hour rule.

Something happens in a game, good or bad, the Lightning goaltender gives himself 12 hours to think about it.

"You have time to reflect on it but don't dwell on it," Roloson said of the rule suggested by a former coach. "Forget about it and move forward."

And if his performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals is any indication, he thrives on it as well.

One game after allowing the deciding goal in a 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Penguins on a shot he should have stopped, Roloson redeemed himself in Saturday's 8-2 romp.

Thirteen of his 31 saves came in the first period while Tampa Bay was badly outplayed. He kept his team in the game until Simon Gagne and Steven Stamkos scored for a 2-0 lead.

It is exactly the kind of effort the Lightning — down three games to two in the best-of-seven series — needs in Game 6 tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum to again avoid elimination in a series in which the team scoring first has won each time.

But just as he compartmentalized his Game 4 disappointment, Roloson did the same with his Game 5 achievement.

That is crucial for goalies, who are scrutinized and critiqued more than any other player on the ice. But Roloson said it can work for any player.

"As a team, we have to have amnesia," he said. "Forget about last game, play our system and do the little things to win games."

"He's excellent at that," goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said. "He's one of the best I've seen. You know you're going to have bad goals. You know you're going to make great saves. The question is to be able to have a sustained and quality effort every time you go out there. If you do that, you'll be okay."

Roloson, 41, has been more than okay. His .942 save percentage is second in the playoffs among goalies with more than 100 minutes. His 2.06 goals-against average is third.

There have been soft goals, such as Max Talbot's short-sider to open the 3-2 Game 3 loss and, most notably, James Neal's Game 4 winner on a puck flung at the net from a sharp angle.

But Roloson has been more consistent than Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, who since his Game 1 shutout has a 3.16 goals-against average and .870 save percentage.

"We know he's going to be there," right wing Steve Downie said of Roloson, and added of how he played in Game 5, "He made some incredible saves. He deserves the credit."

But Roloson was reluctant to accept it.

"It's not just one individual," he said. "It's everybody doing the little things to win. It's the little things that lead to the big picture. You can't just come up with a picture that's going to sell for a million dollars. It takes the little brushstrokes all the way through."

As for the little things Roloson does, he said, "Getting in front of shots. That's all you can do," and he joked he follows the KISS method of goaltending: Keep it simple, stupid.

Then there is the 12-hour rule.

"He'll look at stuff, rationalize stuff. There's a work in progress there that will last a few hours or a day," said coach Guy Boucher, who added he expects Roloson to "put his last performance in perspective, too, and come up with an even bigger one (today)."

Tampa Bay Lightning's Dwayne Roloson maintains even keel with 12-hour rule 04/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 9:08am]
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