Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning endures youth in net

BOSTON — Here's the thing about Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback: He continues to make saves worthy of any how-to video. But he also keeps allowing bad goals.

Take Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Devils. His stunning right-leg stop of Stefan Matteau's redirect with 18 seconds left in the first preserved a 0-0 tie. But in the second, Lindback lost track of the puck after Anton Volchenkov's blue-line slap shot hit him in the chest, and Adam Henrique easily knocked in the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

In every game, Lindback has allowed at least one soft goal. He always says the right things, that he has to learn from it and apply it going forward.

That was fine while the Lightning scored goals in bunches. But now that games have settled into tight-checking, playoff-type affairs, those soft goals that had been part of a learning curve are liabilities. If they continue, they no doubt will test the patience of coach Guy Boucher.

"We have to have a lot of patience because he's young," Boucher said. "That's the reality. Let's say it like it is: That first goal (against the Devils), I know eventually those won't go in."

Lindback, 24, has played just 46 NHL games — 38 the past two seasons as the backup to Nashville's Pekka Rinne — so there is validity to Boucher's forward-looking sentiment. And Lindback shows flashes of spectacular ability.

In the meantime, Boucher said, "He's just a young goaltender that has to live through all the experiences a No. 1 guy has to go through."

Lindback is 5-3-0. That's not bad, but his 2.89 goals-against average entered Saturday 23rd among goalies with at least five games, and his .905 save percentage was 20th.

In other words, for all Bou­cher's explanation about how Sami Salo and Matt Carle have "transformed" the Lightning's defense, it doesn't mean much if your goalie doesn't stop the puck.

That's not saying Lindback won't eventually be a good No. 1. It's just going to take him time to get there. As Boucher said, "I love my garden. I want it to grow because I know what it's going to look like three years from now. But if I pull at it, it's gone. You've got to water it, and eventually it's growing. But it's growing at its own pace. I think it's important we respect that."

Comments
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Updated: 2 hours ago
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Published: 12/14/17
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17