TORONTO – The New York Islanders can thank goaltender Dwayne Roloson for making their seven-game road trip a success.
The 40-year-old netminder, signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer, capped the team’s 12-day road swing with a 58-save effort in the Islanders’ 4-3 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night.
The victory improved Roloson’s record to 2-0-2 on the lengthy trip, and 7-2-5 overall this season. The Islanders went 3-2-2 on the seven-game trip to improve to 9-8-7 in 2009-10, but they know they wouldn’t have been so successful if not for the tireless Roloson in net.
“We can thank Roloson for the win tonight,” said Islanders rookie John Tavares, the No. 1 overall draft pick last June and native of Mississauga, Ont., who played his first regular-season game in Toronto. “Roloson made all the saves for us tonight.”
Roloson was busy from start to finish against the Maple Leafs, stopping 20 shots in the first period, 14 of 15 in the second, 21 of 23 in the third and three more in overtime. In total, Toronto outshot the Islanders 61-21.
“To me, it’s just another night, another game,” Roloson said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s one shot or 100 shots, I’ve got to do the same things, try to give my team a chance to win.”
The rest of the Islanders were effusive in their praise.
“It was Roloson’s win tonight,” said Isles winger Matt Moulson, another Toronto-area native who celebrated his team-leading 11th goal of the season. “He was unbelievable, you can’t say too much else about the way he played other than that, unbelievable. He made a lot of saves, I don’t know how he made them.”
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said New York was fortunate to escape Toronto with a victory.
“I can’t say enough about how well Toronto played,” said the second-year NHL coach. “We couldn’t win a faceoff and they kept coming at us with speed. We stole the two points from them tonight.
“That third period was all them, they gave a tremendous effort out there. We can thank our goalie tonight.”
If he’ll accept the kudos, that is, as Roloson also proved adept at deflecting away praise.
“They had a lot of shots, but most of them were from the outside and I was able to see the puck,” Roloson said. “Our defence did a good job of keeping the Leafs to the perimeter.”
The Islanders return home for two games, but it might not get any easier for Roloson. Next up is the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, followed by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.