No Other Choice
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks, facing post-season extinction, at least had a choice.
Down 3-0 to the Edmonton Oilers going into Game 4 Thursday night, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had the opportunity to turn to 2003 playoff MVP Jean Sebastien Giguere in goal, and did as Anaheim captured its first victory of the series.
The Edmonton Oilers, facing as big a problem in goal as the Ducks or even bigger, don't have that kind of option at hand.
It's Dwayne Roloson or bust for the Oilers, and the possibility that the 36-year-old has finally lost his playoff mojo is the only real source of optimism for Anaheim heading into Game 5 on Saturday night.
Jussi Markkanen, in case you wondered, is the Oiler backup, and it so happens he hasn't appeared in a game since March 1st.
He turned 30 years of age this month, but he has only 13 minutes of NHL playoff experience on his resume, and that came four years ago.
That's not exactly an realistic option.
Roloson, however, is showing rather obvious signs of fatigue, and who would blame him if that's the case? After being either a backup or platoon goalie for his entire career, he has been ridden hard by Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish down the the stretch and throughout the playoffs.
Poor Roloson. He has started 35 of Edmonton's last 36 games after previously never having played more than 50 regular season games in his career.
Over the past four periods, the once-sizzling Roloson has allowed nine goals, at least half of which have either stoppable or downright ugly.
His most effective play in Game 4 was a rather obvious dive that nonetheless netted the Oilers a power play when Andy McDonald was sent off for goalie interference. Roloson has been "unintentionally" losing his facemask often during the Anaheim series, fortuitously whenever his team can use a break.
But if the Roloson magic is gone, the Oilers are in huge trouble, if not in securing the fourth and final win over Anaheim, then in the Stanley Cup final against either Buffalo or Carolina.
For the Oilers, after all, there is no other goaltending option.