SUN Hockey Pool

Roloson gathers no rust

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

There had to be legitimate concerns about rust when Dwayne Roloson made his first start in six weeks, but nobody in their wildest dreams thought most of it would accumulate on the fingers of the goal judges.

But in back-to-back jaw-droppers, Roloson gave the red-light staff a couple of pretty easy nights, stopping 86 of 89 shots in consecutive victories over Phoenix and San Jose.

"He's got that real high-level game, and when he gets there I've seen it stay there for three months," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "With the game that he played (Sunday), he's back at the level that we've seen him at before. And we know where that can lead you."

It's no stretch to suggest his weekend heroics saved Edmonton's season. Or, at least kept them alive to fight another day.

GARON TIRED

"Matty was playing a lot of games and fatiguing a little bit," said MacTavish, who knew he needed to make a switch after starting Garon 17 games in a row. "We really needed Roli. If he didn't come in and play at a high level then we were probably done."

Roloson was so sharp in the win at Phoenix that they went with him in San Jose, and he was so sharp there that they can't take him out now.

"I really felt that if we were going to get back in the playoff race and make the playoffs we were going to need him to come in and win five or six games in a row, get that high level goaltending," said MacTavish. "He's at the top of his game, when he gets there he can stay for a while, so we're going to, in all likelihood, ride that."

Roloson, who lost his starting job to the hot-hand principle, gets a chance to win it back that way.

"You just try to focus on what you've got to do to try to help the team win," he said. "I got the opportunity to play and I'm just trying to take advantage of it. You've got to try to go in there and not worry about anything else except what you've got to do."

One of the toughest tasks in sports is for a goalie to come in for a big game after spending ages on the shelf, but Roloson says his time in Minnesota, playing behind Manny Fernandez, helped him stay mentally and physically ready.

FAMILIAR TERITORY

"It's the situation I was in before I got traded here,"he said. "You try and take those things and use them as learning experiences. Obviously it's never a good situation to be in, but sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes."

His teammates are thrilled for him, and not just because he stole them some points on the weekend. He's been a good soldier and a good teammate through this and they're glad he's getting the chance to prove himself.

"Roli, being the professional that he is, worked hard and had a great attitude," said defenceman Steve Staios. "That's easier said than done. As competitive as he is ... he didn't disrupt anything.

"And when he came back in he took advantage of his opportunity. It was incredible. His positioning was great. He was back to his old self again."

When Garon goes back in remains to be seen, but he's not about to rock the boat.

"We're winning," he said. "I'm not here for myself. I'm here for the team. We just won two big games. I know what's going on. I want to be in the playoffs, so if it works that way I have no problem."


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