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Smith gets the nod for Lightning

by Corey Masisak
BOSTON -- Guy Boucher was given six chances to say Dwayne Roloson was his starting goaltender for Game 5 and he never officially said it -- for good reason.

Mike Smith led the Tampa Bay Lightning onto the ice for warumups at TD Garden on Monday night and will be between the pipes for the start of this critical Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Roloson has started every game this postseason for Tampa Bay, but has been pulled in two of the past three contests against the Bruins.

Smith has been perfect in relief of Roloson, stopping all 29 shots he has faced. He was 21-for-21 in Game 4 as the Lightning rallied from a 3-0 hole for a 5-3 victory. Tampa Bay has outscored Boston 7-0 with Smith in net during this series.

"We're preparing like usual. He's preparing like he prepared for all the other games. So we're prepared," Boucher said Monday morning when asked if Roloson was his starting goaltender.

When pressed on the matter, Boucher responded, "He's prepared. He's done his morning skate like usual. He prepared yesterday. We had a good talk. And he knows what's coming up."

This will be Smith's first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had a .939 save percentage after the All-Star break, but that was in only five appearances. He finished the season 13-6-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage.

Ironically, Smith became the first goaltender aged 29 or older to make his first postseason start in the conference finals since May 23, 1999 -- when Dwayne Roloson got the nod for the Buffalo Sabres in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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