He twisted, contorted and dove all over the ice, finding some way to put himself between the rubber disc and the back of the Tampa Bay Lightning net. Dwayne Roloson, the latest move by master maestro GM Steve Yzerman, showed his teammates that the 41-year-old netminder can still get the job done.
Roloson posted his first shutout of the season in his Tampa Bay debut, blanking Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on 34 shots.
As the two co-leaders of the Southeast Division traded body blows, it was Roloson who matched the 22-year-old Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov stop for stop.
Goose eggs abound through three periods, Roloson appeared to exhale a sigh of relief when Martin St. Louis deposited a rebound to give the Bolts a huge 1-0 overtime victory.
It put the Lightning alone atop the Southeast, but it means so much more.
In their previous two contests with the Caps, the Lightning were winless, having been outscored 12-3. It has to give the Lightning a measure of confidence that they've finally broken through against Washington.
Yzerman traded away minor leaguer Ty Wishart for Roloson, who was wasting away on the bench of the bottom feeding New York Islanders. Roloson, in his 13th NHL Season, started 20 games for the Islanders and managed a disappointing 6-13-1 record despite posting a respectable 2.64 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
Roloson's save percentage is better than both incumbent goalies in Tampa Bay, Dan Ellis and Mike Smith.
The 34 save shutout of the Caps was the 25th of his NHL career.
What Roloson may bring the most is experience in a playoff run. Roloson was between the pipes when a little regarded Edmonton Oilers club advanced all the way to Game 7 of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup Finals.
If the early returns are any indication, Steve Yzerman has shown his brilliance once again.
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