TORONTO – Another game in Toronto, another stellar performance for New York Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
Roloson stopped 29 of 30 shots on Monday night, including a couple of big saves on sniper Phil Kessel, as the workmanlike Islanders handed the Toronto Maple Leafs their first loss of the 2010-11 regular season, 2-1 in overtime.
“He had some big games in this building last year and we wanted to take advantage of that,” said Islanders coach Scott Gordon.
The Leafs outplayed the Islanders and had several chances to score, but thanks to a couple of goals waved off and Roloson’s steady netminding, Toronto ended the game a frustrated bunch.
That’s nothing new for the Leafs when facing Roloson, who’s one of the league’s oldest players at 41 and is in his 13th NHL season.
Roloson has beaten the Leafs three times in his last four outings dating back to the start of 2009-10, which is in stark contrast to his 1-6-0 career record versus Toronto prior to last season.
He was brilliant with a 58-save performance in a 4-3 Islanders win last November, but Roloson also made 26 stops in 3-1 victory on Dec. 23.
The Leafs managed to defeat Roloson 3-2 on Dec. 9, but he made 32 saves in a losing effort.
“I don’t focus on who we’re playing, I just go out there and do my thing,” Roloson said. “To me, I just go out there and try to help my team win.”
The Islanders signed Roloson in the summer of 2009, as incumbent starter Rick DiPietro battled career-threatening hip and groin problems. Roloson went 23-18-7, with a 2.77 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, and was generally rock-solid for the up-and-down Isles.
DiPietro is back this season—and so is Roloson. Through six games, each netminder has had three starts. Roloson is 2-1-0, while DiPietro is 1-0-2.
Roloson, who was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Calgary Flames in 1994, is only the 11th goalie in league history to still be active at 41.