Roloson outshines Tavares in T.O.

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

The old man stole the kid's spotlight last night.

John Tavares' first National Hockey League game at the Air Canada Centre will provide plenty of good memories years from now, but when the New York Islanders' 19-year-old rookie tells his grandkids about it, he'll speak of the stunning performance by goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

Six weeks after his 40th birthday, Roloson made an eye-popping 58 saves as the Isles beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime.

"You just have to thank Roli," Tavares, born in Mississauga and raised in Oakville, said. "He stood on his head. Sometimes you don't win pretty, you win ugly."

Tavares didn't register a point, but a couple of other GTA youngsters were instrumental for the visitors. Josh Bailey, a native of Bowmanville, scored the winner with 42.2 seconds left and Matt Moulson, a close friend of Tavares and a native of North York, scored the Islanders' second goal.

But it was a night to remember for Roloson, who had beaten the Leafs just once during the regular season in his career. Roloson made big stops on Phil Kessel and Lee Stempniak as the Isles took three consecutive penalties in the first period, and those saves were a small indication of what was to come.

The Leafs got Roloson to bend as they erased a 3-0 deficit, but he didn't break. Afterward, Roloson, still dripping with sweat, looked like he had just run a marathon.

"I probably went through about eight or nine of these things," Roloson said as he held up an empty water bottle. "To me, it's just another night. Whether they had one shot or 100 shots, it's still the same thing for me -- I have to do my job to give our guys a chance to win. Sorry for the cliches, but that's ultimately what I am trying to do."

Tavares, whose ability to score goals isn't matched by many hockey players anywhere, had but one good scoring chance. In the third period, he broke in off the wing but was stopped by Jonas Gustavsson. It was not a great night in the faceoff circle for Tavares, as he won just five of 17 draws he took.

The Leafs deserve credit for keeping Tavares in check two nights after they were able to contain Alexander Ovechkin.

"I didn't feel as nervous as I thought I would be," Tavares said. "You want to contribute every night, so I'm always wanting to be better. It was exciting to play in the city I grew up in, and it was a great way to end the trip."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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