The Tampa Bay Lightning have now lost two of their last three at the St. Pete Times forum and in each game a specific incident involving goaltender Dwayne Roloson may have been a factor.
On Friday evening, the Capitals Matt Hendricks clearly pushed Rolosn down without being assisted, interfering with the 41-year-old net minder, and angering him in the process. Hendricks was heading to the box for a Bolts power play that is until Roloson beat him unmercifully with his catching glove and washing out the man advantage.
The Bolts led 1-0 at that point but less than a minute later the Caps would tie the game and go on to score four of the games next five goals. Last night again Dwayne Roloson was knocked down, this time by Buffalo’s Drew Staffford. Stafford had help as the Lightning’s Marc-Andre Bergeron tripped him into Roloson knocking him down.
Roloson would fall down from the trip (it should be noted that he has been nominated for an Academy Award for his fall) not knowing his own defenseman caused the play. The Sabres Jordan Leopold would shoot a slap shot from the point and score as Roloson would have no chance to stop it on his back. The goal tied the game at three goals each and wiped away the two-goal lead the Bolts were enjoying.
Tampa Bay would lose their composure arguing the controversial goal and then proceed to lose the game, surrendering the next four goals, losing 7-4 to the Buffalo Sabres last evening. Both plays seemed to rattle the veteran net minder, causing him to lose his concentration.
Roloson had this to say about the goal, “For me, when I fell backwards, was I asking questions? Yeah, of course,” Roloson said. “But for me, it’s over. Whether it’s the right call or whether it’s the wrong call, there is not much I can do about it now. It’s part of the game.”
“Whether it’s the right call or the wrong call, it’s part of the game,” Roloson said. “Players make mistakes. Refs make mistakes. To err is human” Rolson continued, but somebody needs to tell him his coach agreed with the call and the error part came when he took the dive.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher agreed with the call after the game, “We deserved a penalty on that guy falling into Roloson,” Boucher said. “But it’s a weird goal. It falls into all the weirdness that was happening.”
The weirdness Boucher is speaking of is the two different hockey games the Lightning played last night. In the first half of the game, the Bolts were ahead 3-1 and seemed to be controlling every aspect of play.
They jumped out on top early when birthday boy Sean Bergenheim, took a long pass from Vinny Lecavalier, and beat Sabres all world goalie Ryan Miller with a wrist shot just 6:36 into the game.
The goal was the first of two on the night for Bergenheim, who turned 27 yesterday. Speaking of Lecavalier, he added the other two goals for the Lightning and with the assist on the Bergenheim’s first goal, had a three-point night.
The Bolts outshot the Sabres through two periods 26-15, as Roloson seemed to be seeing the puck very well. He controlled the rebounds as the Lightning defense cleared the front of the cage for him. Offensively the Lightning were flying up and down the ice as only Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, kept his team within two goals making some great saves.
The Sabres closed to within one goal just before the end of the second period as Thomas Vanek beat Roloson from the left circle, and at a sharp angle. All five Lightning players were in deep and on the other side of Roloson, allowing Vanek to stand free next to the net.
Everything fell apart following the tying controversial goal by Leopold, as the Sabres would score five goals on 12 third period shots.
The Sabres Drew Stafford was the hero for Buffalo, as he recorded his fifth career hat trick in earning the games number one star. Ryan Miller made 30 saves to get win number 23 on the year.
The Lightning may have lost some key players for an extended time last evening. Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis unintentionally kneed defenseman Matt Smaby in the groin area, and forward Ryan Malone strained a stomach muscle when he slid into the net. Malone was appearing in his first game back after missing five games with injury.
Boucher could only best describe this game and his team’s effort as weird. “Some weird things started happening,” Boucher said. “Smaby got a weird injury, then Malone, who has been playing outstanding, he made that third goal happen. Then Downie gets hurt and he’s rattled, and it just started to be a weird game.”
The Bolts have alternated wins and losses in their last four games after winning six in a row. The Lightning do not play again until Saturday, when the surging Carolina Hurricanes come into the Times Forum. Saturday’s game will be the seventh game of the 12 game home stand.