NHL Playoffs: Lightning pin playoff survival on goalie Roloson

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning are once again hitching their hopes of blocking Boston’s path to the Stanley Cup finals on goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

Down 3-2 to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals, coach Guy Boucher said Roloson, 41, is “the guy that took us here,” so he’ll be in net for Game 6 when the Lightning try to even the best-of-seven series Wednesday night.

The Bruins are one victory away from their first Stanley Cup appearance in 21 years after beating Roloson’s backup, Mike Smith, in Game 5.

Boucher opted to give Smith his first career playoff start after pulling Roloson from two of the previous three games against the Bruins, saying he felt the veteran whose acquisition in January was critical to Tampa Bay’s turnaround season needed a “breather.”

Although Smith was solid during Monday’s night’s 3-1 loss that left the Lightning on the brink of elimination, Boucher sounded as though it was an easy decision to go back to Roloson.

“This is a perfect situation. He’s going to be the only rested guy in the two teams,” Boucher said Tuesday, noting Roloson has responded well to breaks this season.

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