As many Islanders fans (and every Lightning fan) hoped he would, Dwayne Roloson stood on his head at a few critical moments last night. After his wins in Game 5 and 6, apparently now only Chico Resch has "more wins when facing elimination."
Video of some pivotal Roli saves is after the jump. (Sean Bergenheim also was key with a goal on a pretty Dominic Moore pass.) In the process, the Lightning forced Game 7 with the Penguins, meaning tonight's pair of Game 7's will be followed by another Wednesday night. Giggidy.
Sadly, no Game 7 in the Battle of Cali, as the Kings used their powerplay to stay in a lopsided game but then wasted a five-minute powerplay that carried over into OT. Joe Thornton soon put in the series clincher for San Jose. Dustin Brown reflects the mood of the disappointed Kings here. More hockey links, video, and a note on ice time after the jump.
The Save(s) by Roli
Dwayne Roloson stands on his head at a critical moment. Marc-Andre Bergeron fans, look away at the start of the play:
Fun, impressive stuff from Roli. The Lightning were giving up a lot of these odd-man breaks through the center of the ice though, so hopefully that trend doesn't bite them in Game 7.
Ice Time Rationers
I chuckled when I saw Jamal Mayers in the handshake line last night because I didn't remember seeing him on the ice. That made me check his stat line -- sure enough, he played 8 shifts and logged 4:38. The playoffs are a time for leaning on your best players...over and over and over. The fourth line gets even sparser duty than during the regular season. During OT, they're nailed to the bench.
A check of the ice time sippers so far in the first round shows this, for guys who have dressed for four or more games:
A lot of grinders and enforcers on that list, plus fun young player (Geoffrion) and one defenseman whose team kind of fears using him.
Ex-Islanders note: Heh, J.P. Dumont (6:38) would also be on this list if the Predators had dressed him in more than two games. Oh, also Andy Sutton (8:18) isn't on the list because he saw only one game for Anaheim.
With two Game 7's tonight, I'm guessing a few guys on that list see that average go even lower.
I'll be in New Orleans (Jazzfest), but the Isles are doing a playoff watch party Friday. Ice Girls! [7th Woman with details/links]
Who should move to the East? Columbus? [Dispatch] Detroit? [Kuklas] I know a bunch of us would love Columbus, for the joy of reading Portzline coverage more. I really think the NHL should consider a version of imbalanced conferences, since the league is inevitably weighted to the East what with population density and the small matter of vast expanses of plains, mountains and deserts (oh, and tundra/prairie) in the West.
Whatever happens tonight in Philadelphia, the fact the Flyers have not solved their goaltending issues since Ron Hextall was considered a good goalie frightens, amuses and amazes me. Sometimes, even I agree with Brooksie (although he completely glosses over Pelle Lindbergh and Hextall, who only won the Conn Smythe).