NHL Playoff Game Night: 4/20/11 Penguins at Lightning

Until Roloson stops allowing soft goals, the Lightning will not win.

PIT-3
TB-2 (2OT)

Pittsburgh Leads the Series 3-1

Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 53 shots for the loss. Yes, 50 saves in a big number. Yes, Roloson made several key saves to keep the game close. But, the first goal was a soft goal through Roloson on the short side, the second goal was off a bad rebound kicked straight up the slot, and the third goal was a soft goal short side high from a poor angle off the wall. If you're keeping score at home, that's 3 soft goals and 2 bad rebound goals in the last 2 games. It's a prerequisite in the playoffs for your goaltender to be one of your best players, and you cannot have your goaltender surrendering soft goals early in the game as Roloson has done in Game 3 and Game 4. Nothing sucks the life out of a team and poisons morale quicker, and so much of the playoffs is about willpower. It's frustrating. Roloson was magnificent in Game 1 and Game 2 in Pittsburgh, and if he had maintained that level of play I suspect the Lightning would be winning this series 3-1 instead of being down 3-1. Is he the only reason the Lightning lost the last 2 games? Absolutely not. However, it's a prerequisite for success in the playoffs that a goaltender not surrender bad goals. It cannot happen, and it's happened at least 3 times in the past 2 games.

First Period
08:14 PIT Kennedy (2), Michalek (1), Letestu (1)(PP)

Second Period
02:39 PIT Asham (3), Lovejoy (2)
17:14 TB St Louis (4), Lecavalier (2), Purcell (1)

Third Period
16:43 TB Bergenheim (1), St Louis (2), Kubina (1)

First Overtime
NO SCORING

Second Overtime
03:38 PIT Neal (1), Staal (2), Martin (2)

Martin St. Louis was the game's second star. The telepathy between he and Vincent Lecavalier, who laid out a pretty little aerial pass on the rush to spring St. Louis on his goal, was the stuff of legends.

Mattias Ritola played 2:23 in the match. I suspect there will be some outrage from Southeast Virginia when they see that stat line, and that Blair Jones was a scratch.

All the Lightning can do now is try to win Game 5. They've dug an incredibly deep hole for themselves and they can't leap out with one effort. It's going to take some climbing one hand over the other toward the light, and it starts with putting together a redeeming effort in Game Five. It's going to be a damned bitter offseason if they don't.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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No Kidding

"Mattias Ritola played 2:23 in the match. I suspect there will be some outrage from Southeast Virginia when they see that stat line, and that Blair Jones was a scratch."

I suspect TB would have still lost without Ritola and Jones. I also suspect they would have given the Ads a better chance to win than a mediocre ECHL player and a signee from the QMJHL.

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