Oilers ready for Roloson

Isles goalie Dwayne Roloson faces the Oilers -- his former team -- tonight. (Sun Media/David Bloom)

Isles goalie Dwayne Roloson faces the Oilers -- his former team -- tonight. (Sun Media/David Bloom)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:01 PM ET

UNIONDALE -- The Edmonton Oilers know from first hand experience that Dwayne Roloson probably isn't the guy you want to see at the other end of the ice when you're trying to break out of an offensive funk.

Which is precisely why New York coach Scott Gordon is putting him there tonight when his surging Islanders host the slumping Oilers at Nassau County Coliseum.

After watching New York's other goalie, Martin Biron, shut out his old team, the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Gordon figures he might was well give Roloson a chance to get into Edmonton's kitchen.

"It's tough to always do because these guys have been around for a while and played for a few teams," chuckled Gordon. "But if it's something we can do, we'll try to do it."

Roloson, as always, is trying to keep things low key.

"For me personally it's just another game," he said when asked about facing the team he took to the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

"When you've gone through a couple of teams you get used to this and you know what to expect and try not to worry about it too much."

Roloson spent three and a half seasons in Edmonton before signing a free-agent contract on Long Island after Edmonton wouldn't give him anything longer than a one-year deal. But if the Oilers think they have a book on him, Roloson says to look out for a few chapter changes.

"I guarantee you guys on that team are going to be thinking I'm going to be doing this or that and I'm going think the same thing.

"If they're thinking that and I'm thinking that, they're obviously going to change things up and I'm going to change things up. It's part of the game."

Got it?

Anyway, one thing they know for sure about Roloson is that he doesn't like traffic and congestion at his crease, which is precisely why they plan on congesting the crease.

"When he's on his game he's tough," said Shawn Horcoff. "We know he gets frustrated with traffic, so we're going to try and frustrate him out there."

The Islanders have won three in a row, beating two of the hottest teams in the NHL in Washington and Buffalo, while the Oilers have lost four of their last five and have been shut out in three of their last four.

"We need a win here," said Horcoff. "We haven't played up to our expectations. They're a young team that's scoring a lot of goals, so it's going to be a good test for us."

Gordon wants his team to take the early lead, hopefully stripping a sickly, slumping road team of its energy.

"We don't see them that often, so the biggest thing is we have to make sure there isn't a feeling out process," he said. "We have to be ready to play. Play our game and not see what Edmonton is going to do."

LATE HITS... Horcoff's flu doesn't seem as bad as some of the other cases, so he plans on playing, but Steve Staios still isn't back to game shape yet after missing three weeks with a concussion... Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start for Edmonton.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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