A backup goalie doesn’t lead the life of luxury in the NHL. He is usually the guy who has to be ready at a moment’s notice but then never used. He is the guy staying late in practice so guys can work on shooting pucks at him.
He’s also the guy who has to come in and win a game when the starting goalie is injured and for the Tampa Bay Lightning, he is Anders Lindback.
Lindback, whose struggles have been noted to the point of ad nauseum, came in for relief when Bolt’s starting goalie Ben Bishop went down with an upper body injury. Not having much time to warm up, Lindback stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief and earned himself a shutout and the confidence of coach Jon Cooper.
Bishop’s injury is unknown as of yet and according to Cooper, Lindback was going to start against the Philadelphia Flyers anyway but it’s always nice to go into the next game with the goalie getting a shutout in a big moment, especially after the starter has gone down with an injury.
The team rallied around Lindback and played a clean cut structured game against a Toronto Maple Leafs team who was fighting for their playoff lives. While the team around Lindback played well, he contributed to the success as well by making great kick saves when needed on second and third looks and playing the puck smartly. He never seemed to lose his focus or overplay during the game, something he had struggled with lately.
“The last time that Lindy[Lindback] played against Pittsburgh he was great,” D Victor Hedman said. “We don’t know how long Ben[Bishop] is going to be out, but we know we can rely on Lindy and he is going to be there for us. Lindback getting the shutout was big.”
Cooper feels that he can rely on his backup goalie to come in as well.
“He hasn’t been in a ton but I think you could just see how confident he was. He was confident playing the puck and was just a calm, calm goalie. Our team was feeding off of it,” Cooper said. “It’s his turn now.”
The stats don’t bear out how good Lindback has been this year and he hasn’t had the best season but it looks like now he has the opportunity to springboard off this and shine.
He’s off to a good start as a shutout,especially in relief, is something to be noted.
GAME NOTES: Ondrej Palat had two goals, moving him to within four for the rookie lead in scoring. Sami Salo left the second period with an injury and didn’t finish the game.