TAMPA — Though it was with the best intentions, the Lightning might have thrown too much too soon at G Anders Lindback, coach Guy Boucher said.
"We played him probably too much for a while," Boucher said Saturday. "We wanted to do that to make him experience what it is to be the guy with all the pressure and getting game after game. That's fine, but as a young guy, we have to manage him the same way we manage forwards and defensemen: give him some but not too much to chew on."
Expect, then, the workload to be more equally shared with Mathieu Garon once he is healthy, though Boucher said the team still views Lindback as its long-term No. 1.
"I feel now that the expectations are in the right place," Boucher said. "He's a young guy who needs to grow through all the hurts and successes a young guy has to go through to be able to manage it."
Lindback, who played in 14 of Tampa Bay's first 18 games, admitted the season has been a physical and mental challenge after playing just 38 NHL games the past two seasons as the backup in Nashville. He is 8-6-1, but his 3.11 goals-against average and .894 save percentage are near the bottom of the league for goalies with at least 10 games.
He also has been inconsistent, looking sharp with 25 saves in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Devils after sitting out for four games but allowing two soft goals in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Jets. "It's a different thing to come in and play here and there, to play on inspiration, than to be competitive and give your team a chance to win every night," Lindback said. "It's a big step, but I can do it. I just have to keep at it."
Lindback said he believes he is tracking the puck well but is too aggressive getting into position, anticipating shots rather than allowing the play to come to him.
"It's a mind-set thing, not to overdo things, to be patient and calm," Lindback said. "Sometimes I get caught doing the first move, and the shooters are so good, they see that. Being able to hold on for that second and waiting for the puck to get to you is a mental thing."
"He's 24 years old," goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said. "He's learning what he has to do to have success. He's going through that process."
WE WANT ROY: Former Lightning enforcer Andre Roy, working Saturday's game against the Canadiens for Canada's RDS TV network, said his five years with the Lightning (2001-04, 2006-08) were the favorite of his career. "I just love walking in here," Roy said. "It brings me back to all the good times I had here," such as hearing the home crowd chant, "We want Roy." "That will be in my heart and mind the rest of my life."
INJURY REPORT: Garon (lower body) skated for the second straight day and is "very close" to returning, Boucher said.
ODDS AND ENDS: Defensemen Matt Carle and Brian Lee were each minus-3. … W Marty St. Louis has two goals, seven assists in a six-game points streak. … F Tom Pyatt played his 200th NHL game. … Defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Brendan Mikkelson, and forward Adam Hall were scratched.