Just over a year ago, Dwayne Roloson arrived on the scene to stabilize the Tampa Bay Lightning's goaltending.
Tonight, he hopes to do the same. Only the circumstances are somewhat different this time.
Roloson will start in net as the Lightning face the Ottawa Senators trying to erase the memory of Tuesday's 7-3 loss in Toronto.
It will be Roloson's first start since Dec. 19 against New Jersey, when he was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
That's been the story through the first half of the season with Roloson, who hasn't looked like the same goalie who helped the Lightning reach the Eastern Conference final.
Roloson, brought back to be the team's No. 1 goalie, has appeared in 19 games, seven fewer than Mathieu Garon. While Garon's play has warranted getting the bulk of the playing time, Roloson's has been less than stellar.
With a new year arriving, the Lightning hope it translates to Roloson's game returning.
"I've seen it in the past, you are riding one goaltender and then you start riding the other goaltender, so hopefully that's what we'll be seeing,'' Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher said.
The turnaround will have to be dramatic. After joining Tampa Bay last season in a New Year's Day trade from the New York Islanders, Roloson allowed four or more goals 10 times in 34 appearances last season, nearly 30 percent of his games. In 16 starts this season, he allowed four or more goals 10 times, or 62.5 percent of his games.
In his past seven games — which include a pair of relief appearances — he allowed at least three goals. His 3.81 goals-against average is the worst in the league among goaltenders to start more than three games and his save percentage of .882 ranks 71st out of 75 goaltenders to appear in at least one game.
"Everyone wants to look at the numbers, and you can read the numbers any way you want,'' Roloson said. "When I was in (Minnesota) my record was below .500, but my goals-against was under two and my save percentage was .930.
"So, the numbers are there for a reason but, for me personally, I don't put too much stock in them. I just focus on going out and try to help the team win, that's the bottom line.''
As Garon has received the bulk of the playing time the past month, Roloson used that time to work on his game with goaltending coach Frantz Jean.
"A lot of times when an athlete is struggling a little bit with his game, it's not a question of changing a lot of things, it's not a question of bringing any big changes,'' Jean said.
Now, it's time to see if working on those little things can turn into big things in the second half.
"He's had a great attitude, a great work ethic and has looked really good in practice,'' Boucher said. "He took a lot of pressure off his shoulders, so he's in a good state."
Roloson said he is ready to put his practice into his play.
"I've just worked on stuff that I needed to work on, making sure I'm moving well and square to the puck all the time,'' he said. "Hopefully the rest is a good thing for coming down the stretch.''
WHO: Lightning at Ottawa Senators
WHERE: ScotiaBank Place, Ottawa
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Sun Sports/WFLA, 970 AM
INJURIES: Lightning — D Mattias Ohlund (knee), RW Ryan Shannon (knee), D Victor Hedman (concussion), LW Ryan Malone (lower body), out. Senators — D Chris Phillips (concussion), C Peter Regin (shoulder), C Jesse Winchester (concussion), out; D Sergei Gonchar (head), questionable.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Tampa Bay is 25-39-7, including 11-21-4 at Ottawa.
NEED TO KNOW: This is the second of four meetings. Ottawa won the first on Dec. 5. … Tampa Bay is 1-3-3 in the past seven visits to ScotiaBank Place. … RW Marty St. Louis has points in all six games since returning from an eye injury. … C Steven Stamkos has 11 goals in the past nine games. … Ottawa has allowed a league-high 135 goals. … Tampa Bay is 1 for 30 on power plays in the past nine road games, but Ottawa’s 21 power-play goals allowed at home are the most in the league. …The Senators are 12-8-1 at home but have been outscored 72-64. … The Lightning have been shorthanded a league high 90 times on the road. … Senators’ D Erik Karlsson leads the league among defensemen with 37 points heading into Wednesday.