Your Call: Who should Lightning start in net for Game 5? Staff

5/22/2011 12:46:04 PM

"We have our No. 1 goaltender. He's taken us to this place right now, and that's the reason why we're here." - Guy Boucher on Dwayne Roloson.

It sounds like Tampa Bay's head coach doesn't intend to change up the formula in net when the Bruins and Lightning battle in a critical Game 5 Monday night in Boston.

But should the recent struggles of his 41-year-old goaltender be more of a concern?

Roloson allowed three goals on just nine shots before being pulled in Game 4, his eventual undoing on a wrist shot that snuck under his pads to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.

Fortunately, his team was able to pick him up and comeback to win the game, but it was with backup Mike Smith shutting the door the rest of the way.

The numbers have not been flattering for Roloson thus far in the series. He's been chased from the net twice in the last three games. He lost his previous two starts and was in-line to lose his third if not for the comeback.

This is the same goalie that entered the Eastern Conference Final with the best goals-against average and save percentage of any goalie in the playoffs. Coming into this series, he had allowed just 25 goals in Tampa's first 12 playoff games.

Against the Bruins, Roloson has allowed five goals on the last 34 shots he's faced. And since winning Game 1, he has allowed 11 goals in less than six periods of work.

Conversely, Smith has been stellar in his brief stints of relief in this series. He has stopped all 29 shots he's faced in the series. But the biggest number might be the response that his team has showed with him in net.

With Smith in net, the Lightning have outscored the Bruins 7-0. Meanwhile, Roloson is on a streak where he's allowed seven straight goals to Boston, while Tampa has not responded with a single goal.

And Boucher realizes the value of his backup.

"Smitty has been terrific. So whenever it's time for him to help the team and try to change the momentum around, I don't hesitate. It was the same in Boston. We put him in. I don't remember the last bad game he's played," he said.

So our question to you is this: Who should start in net for the Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final?

As always, It's Your! Call.