Not quite yet but if he keeps it up, he might be mentioned in the same breath as some of the greatest NHL playoff performers ever to win the cup.
Throughout the years, we have seen many great performances by goal-tenders during the NHL playoffs, whether it came from catching lightning in a bottle at just the right time or by simply having a reputation as one of the elite when the calendar changed to April. Dwayne Roloson of the Tampa Bay Lightning was best known for the first of the two but has gotten a second chance this season and hopes he can go out a winner.
Roloson was the driving force of the Edmonton Oilers’ 2006 Stanley Cup run, which fell just short as they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Finals. His play was one of the main reasons the Oilers were in the position to perhaps capture their first cup in well over a decade, posting a 2.33 goals-against average to accompany his 12 wins and 5 losses.
But that was six years ago and is ancient history. After a couple of uniform changes Roloson is back for what could be one final chance to drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup, this just months after splitting time for the last place New York Islanders before his eventual trade near the deadline.
The 41-year-old has playoff numbers that so many before him, who were much younger, could only dream of in the spring months. He leads the playoffs with nine wins, a 2.01 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage. Roloson has also managed to rattle off eight straight playoff wins, tying him with Hall of Famer Jacques Plante for most by a goalie 40 years of age or older. Plante did it in 1969 with the St. Louis Blues.
However Roloson doesn’t care about what he has accomplished but what he still needs to accomplish, nor about the naysayers who think he is too old.
“I know what I can do. I can care less about what other people think or say or how they feel. For me, I've got to go out and do what I've got to do and give our guys a chance to win. As cliche as it is, that's what I try to do,” he told the St. Pete Times.
With Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals looming, there is still plenty of hockey to be played before we can argue if we are witnessing one of the greatest goaltender performances in history. One thing is for certain, the Boston Bruins have their own agenda and will not make it easy on Roloson.
We will just have to wait and see.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS