Dwayne Roloson was simply amazing for the Lightning in Game7 vs. Pittsburgh. He made 36 saves, and many of them were simply outstanding. He was bothered in front by Penguin forwards and defenders and stood tall, never being rattled.
Roloson went 4-3 with a 1.77 GAA and league-leading .949 save percentage. He stopped 243 of 256 shots in seven games and allowed only four goals in winning the final three games against Pittsburgh.
However, the Penguins did not bring the firepwer that Washington will. The Caps are four lines deep, and no one in the Pittsburgh lineup right now fires a shot like that of Alex Ovechkin or Alex Semin.
For all of Roloson's tenure in the NHL, he does not have that much playoff experience. He has made the most of his playoff appearances, becoming just the second goalie ever to go 6-0 in elimination games and is now 2-0 in game sevens.
Including the seven game series against the Pens, Rolo has just 40 playoff appearances. Lifetime, he is 22-14 with a 2.41 goals against and a .922 save percentage.
Washington will get in his face. The Caps were able to agitate Roloson tremendously during a 5-2 victory in Tampa back on February 4. Roloson took several swipes at Caps players in front and seemed to get off his game in the process.
Washington will need to be patient with the puck and wait for Roloson.
He will make a mistake, and Washington must "capitalize.” If they do not, then Roloson will take advantage and can get into their heads just as he did when he shut Washington out in back to back appearances after being acquired on New Year’s Day.
Roloson did lead a very mediocre Edmonton Oilers team the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2006. He injured his knee following Game 1 vs. Carolina and did not return to play as the Oilers lost in seven games.
The 23-year-old Czech native did everything he was asked to do in round one against the Rangers. He came within a garbage goal late in Game 5 of earning two first round shutouts. Neuvirth stopped 140 of 148 shots in round No.1 and looked very calm and collected in doing so.
Neuvirth had a knack for allowing the proverbial soft goal during the regular season and allowed one in the Game 3 loss vs. New York, but he rebounded well.
Neuvirth was hit in his crease by Sean Avery and Brandon Dubinsky on several occasions during the opening series but never became rattled by them or the raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Neuvirth had a lot of help in front of him during the series. The Caps continued their stellar play on defense against the Rangers and averaged almost 21 blocked shots per game.
Like Roloson, Neuvirth will see a lot better and more accurate firing squad in this round. The Bolts are quicker and possess more up front than the Rangers, who were without their leading scorer, Ryan Callahan.
Neuvirth posted one shutout with an astounding 1.38 goals against and a .946 save percentage in round one.
EDGE: Tampa Bay Lightning and Dwayne Roloson
A very slight edge to Roloson. Neuvirth did nothing to lose this edge to Roloson. It simply comes down to what Roloson did to gain it with his play in the final two games vs. Pittsburgh.
Do not get upset with me, Caps fans, but you must keep in mind that Roloson had to be better in his series. Eric Brewer, Mike Lundin, Brett Clark, Mattias Ohlund, Pavel Kubina and Victor Hedman are not Mike Green, Jeff Schultz, John Carlson, Scott Hannan and company.
Roloson faced an average of 36 shots per game to Neuvirth’s 29. There will be a shutout in the series, and the goalie that records it wins the series.