Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lindback shows progress, growing pains

TAMPA — It happened again Tuesday. Anders Lindback allowed a bad goal.

As much potential as the Lightning goaltender has shown, and as many terrific saves as he has made, Lindback in each of his five games with Tampa Bay has allowed at least one softie.

It is a situation coach Guy Boucher seems willing to tolerate as he grooms Lindback, 24, who entered the season with just 38 NHL games, into the No. 1 goalie he believes the 6-foot-6 Swede will become.

"The reality is we have a lot of patience for forwards who get in the NHL and a little less patience with defensemen," Boucher said after the 5-2 victory over the Panthers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "If we have patience with them, we have to have patience with our goaltenders, too, when they make a little mistake. (Lindback has) got to feel he's allowed to make mistakes. We have his back because he has our back often."

Such as in Tuesday's first period.

Lindback's giveaway behind the net led to Peter Mueller's goal that made the score 1-1 with 8:36 left. But the entire game dynamic might have shifted had Lindback not stopped Scottie Upshall's breakaway 4:51 into the game with the score 0-0.

In Sunday's 5-1 win over the Flyers, Lindback allowed Sean Couturier's goal from a ridiculous angle 59 seconds into the game. But Lindback's stunning left-leg stop of Matt Read at the end of a three-on-one at 9:15 preserved the one-goal deficit.

"That's what good goalies do. They all make those type of saves," Boucher said. "I just think right now he's showing signs of somebody making a difference at the right times every game."

Lindback's 2.80 goals-against average entered Wednesday 18th in the league among goalies with at least four games, and his .914 save percentage was 13th. But both have been heading in the right directions, and he is 4-1-0.

"The players know he's a young goaltender that's learning," Boucher said. "But he's learning real fast."

NEXT UP: Expect to see Mathieu Garon in net either Friday against the Jets or Saturday against the Rangers. Garon, 35, in his only game, made 35 saves Jan. 22 in a 5-1 win over the Hurricanes.

"I've been in this situation before and know what it is," Garon said. " 'Lindy' is the guy. He gives us a chance to win every night, so it's good he plays. I'm here to help and play good when I play."

"You can't get a better athlete or person," Boucher said of Garon. "He's the ultimate professional."

SETTLING DOWN: Since being outscored 10-3 in its first four second periods, the Lightning played the Flyers to a 0-0 second period and outscored the Panthers 2-0, the first time Tampa Bay "won" a second period.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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