If you believe in hexes and "I got your number" scenarios, then you might think Dwayne Roloson can continue his playoff-leading goaltending and treat the Capitals the way he treated the Maple Leafs when he was an Islanders head-stander. Of course, then you might also have thought Roberto Luongo would never cast away his Blackhawk demons.
This year Roloson was 2-2-1 with a 1.37 GAA and .953 save percentage against the Capitals. He and the Lightning face a big challenge here, a bigger challenge than they saw last round against the star-less Penguins and their impotent powerplay. But if the Lightning scorers come alive, Sean Bergenheim throws in some more "oh, THAT Bergenheim" bonuses, and Roloson can keep partying like it's 2006...you never know.
|Friday, April 29||at Washington, 7:00 p.m.||VERSUS, TSN|
|Sunday, May 1||at Washington, 7:00 p.m.||VERSUS, CBC|
|Tuesday, May 3||at Tampa Bay, 6:30 p.m.||VERSUS, TSN|
|Wednesday, May 4||at Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.||TSN|
|*Saturday, May 7||at Washington, 12:30 p.m.||NBC, TSN|
|*Monday, May 9||at Tampa Bay, TBD||VERSUS, TSN|
|*Wednesday, May 11||at Washington, TBD||VERSUS, TSN|
The Lightning tend to get outshot and out-Corsi'd a lot, as they did in the last series, so their success can befuddle those who do not believe Roloson possesses higher powers which he periodically chooses to unleash on the NHL.
When I think of these teams' stars, I think of comparable weapons up front (although Vincent Lecavalier is one of those guys with a massive contract who look five years older than he should look and on any given night I wouldn't say, "Oooh, that guy's a star"). Still, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are capable of big games that can shift a series at any moment, so maybe they strike gold. But the Capitals' big guns are a little more plentiful, a little more dangerous, and a little less "just glad to be here." Their young defensemen is more impressive than they get credit for, and the Karl Alzner and John Carlson pairing is unblemished in six games against the Lightning this year.
Those are generalities, but yeah, in my view everything in this short-sample series tips toward Washington. To tip the other way would require something like a goalie standing on his head, and I mean come on, when has that--... Oh, hi, Dwayne!
Head Says: Capitals in five.
Heart Says: Lightning in six, with Roloson putting up another series-clinching shutout. Go ahead and give Sean Bergenheim another pair.