Coach couldn’t just roll along
Boucher felt move needed in Game 2
TAMPA — NHL coaches weigh carefully the decision to pull a goaltender. And in the playoffs, when the stakes are high, it can be an even more difficult call. But with games every other night, it doesn’t make sense to leave a netminder in to be shelled as the Lightning’s Dwayne Roloson was in Game 2 in Boston.
After Roloson allowed six goals on 27 shots in two periods of Tampa Bay’s 6-5 loss Tuesday, Lightning coach Guy Boucher replaced the 41-year-old with Mike Smith.
“You need to make sure you do the right thing,’’ said Boucher prior to Game 3 last night. “I think if you leave him in, or if you take him out after a seventh goal, people in the stands are probably screaming at him. I don’t think that would be right. It wouldn’t be respecting him.
“I know he wanted to stay in to battle but he also understood that by changing something, it might change the outcome of the game. And it almost worked.
“He’s the first guy to want what the team needs at that point. So, we certainly didn’t lose confidence in Roloson. We left him alone with breakaways and two-on-ones and stuff.
“It was just about respecting him and trying to see how we can turn this game around because we were getting a lot of chances but it just wasn’t turning our way.’’
This season, Roloson was 6-1 in games that followed games in which he allowed five or more goals.
“He’s built some mental tools over the years that some young guys don’t have,’’ said Boucher. “It’s all about a 12-hour thing. Beyond 12 hours, you can’t even talk to him about it because it doesn’t exist. And it’s a great mental tool that takes a long time. And it takes a mature man to be about that.’’
Stirred, not shaken Boucher said his team had plenty of confidence heading into Game 3. In Game 2, he said, the Lightning had “the most scoring chances the entire year — the regular season and the playoffs. So we know, offensively, we did some good stuff. But I think we wanted it too much offensively, and obviously, five on three in the first period, for me killed us more than anything.’’ Having said that, the Lightning were up, 2-1, heading into the second period. “I think the idea was we were a little too eager in the second period to put the game away,’’ said Boucher . . . The Game 2 performance of Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin (two goals, two assists) wasn’t missed by the Lightning. “I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed,’’ said Boucher. “His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. And being a young guy, having success right away, certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. And for us, we know that he’s going to be on the ice. We have to be able to keep on him.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.