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Former teammate offers insight on Roloson's success

by Emily Kaplan
Matt Moulson knows many people can't figure just how Dwayne Roloson, at age 41, has led a resurgent Tampa Bay Lightning team to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The New York Islanders forward and former teammate of Roloson doesn't quite know, either.

"Maybe he's just like a fine wine," Moulson said. "He just gets better with age. Or something like that."

Moulson certainly believes Roloson has improved with experience. And he's hardly surprised by the goaltender's astounding success with the Lightning in his 14th NHL season.

"He's been around the game for a long time," said Moulson, who played a season and a half on Long Island with Roloson. "It helps a lot when you've been through a lot of situations, which he has."

Roloson began his NHL career in 1996 -- when Moulson was just 13 years old.

In 2006, he led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final. However late in Game 1 against the Hurricanes, Roloson suffered a series-ending knee injury and Edmonton lost to Carolina in seven games.

Moulson remembers watching that series on TV.

"The fact that he's made a run like that before shows that he's a really good goaltender," Moulson said. "And it helps the Lightning that he's been there before."

Now, Roloson is a backbone for a Tampa Bay team that cruised into the Eastern Conference Finals with a sweep of the top-seeded Capitals in the second round. Throughout the run, Roloson has made history. He matched Hall of Famer Jacques Plante for the longest winning streak in the playoffs for a goaltender age 40 or older with eight-straight victories.

Roloson has recorded nine victories in the 2011 playoffs, boasting a .931 save percentage and 2.37 goals-against average -- both better than his career averages.

He did surrender six goals to the Bruins on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, allowing the Bruins to tie the series 1-1. But Moulson said it's nothing for Roloson -- or the Lightning -- to be too concerned about.

"Maybe a younger guy would break down a little bit from that, thinking it’s an end-all, be-all," Moulson said. "But he knows it's a seven-game series and there's a lot of hockey to play. So he'll be fine."

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