42 - the answer in goal; Lightning at New York Islanders preview

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 07: Dwayne Roloson #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the first period save against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center on October 7, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

WHERE: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
WHEN: 7 PM EDT | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Lighthouse Hockey

So, Dwayne Roloson had a birthday yesterday. Belated happy birthday, Dwayne.

October 12th was just another day, but it was the 42nd that Dwayne Roloson ever experienced.

And that will be the last reference to Dwayne Roloson's birthdate that I mention on this site. It's an easy fallback for drama for columnists or pundits, but really, does it matter? You play, you perform, you do what you can up until your mind and body tells you it's time to stop. Even then, the competitive fire within doesn't quit raging.

I'd be more concerned with Dwayne Roloson's competitive fire, which we all know is burning hot and bright, than about the number of times Earth has gone around the Sun since Roloson was conceived.

Speaking of competitive fire, tonight's game versus the New York Islanders is Roloson's first trip back to Uniondale since he was traded by the Isles on New Year's Day 2011. Will that stoke the flames for him? Or perhaps Bruno Gervais on defense? This is his first trip back as a member of another team.

Mattias Ritola will be back in the lineup tonight for the Lightning. This, after Guy Boucher had touted the idea that there would be a rotation of forwards due to the team carrying 14 at this time. Does that mean someone else will sit so Blair Jones or Tom Pyatt can get into the lineup? Can't say. The possibility is there, as there have been illnesses affecting players as of late (Teddy Purcell and Dominic Moore have both been cited as losing practice and playing time due to illness).

Al Montoya will be starting in net tonight for the Islanders, he'll be backed up by Evgeni Nabokov. Montoya has started the Islanders first two games of the season, giving up 3 goals against while making 47 saves. That's a 1.53 GAA. Compare that to the barrage of 118 shots over 3 games the Lightning have given up (and 9 goals against). It's no wonder Guy Boucher stressed defense during practice yesterday.

Early season stats are a funny thing. The Islanders have a more effective power play, percentage wise, than the Lightning right now. They've gone 1-for-6 in two games this season. A 16.7% conversion rate. The Lightning are 2-for-15, not having scored with the man advantage since opening night. Is the Isles power play truly more effective than the Lightning's? At this point in time, yes. Blame the Minnesota Wild for allowing that to happen.

On the flip-side of special teams, the Bolts have been shorthanded 18 times so far this season, and have turned back every single power play opportunity for opponents. 24:53 minutes on the penalty kill, no goals against. The islanders aren't exactly chopped-liver. It's only been 2 games but they've been short-handed 12 times, they've allowed 1 power play goal.


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