Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning goalie Anders Lindback proves his knee is fine

BRANDON — If there was a moment Friday at the Ice Sports Forum in which new Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback proved his recently injured right knee is sound, it was when he contorted his body to stop Marty St. Louis.

It was a messy-looking save, with Lindback flailing his arms and legs while St. Louis did about 12 moves in front of him before getting off a shot.

The sequence over, the players laughed.

"It looks good," Lindback said of the cut on top of his knee, a horizontal wound about an inch long that looks as if it was sliced by a knife. "It healed good. It's not an issue."

Lindback played 77 minutes on Friday, 45 during team skating and shooting drills and a 32-minute scrimmage. His performance was much different from the few minutes he was on the ice Thursday — enough to take only a few shots, after which he retreated to the gym.

That episode sparked questions about if the knee, which needed six stitches when cut by a shot Dec. 18 while Lindback played in Finland, was ready for Sunday's opening of training camp.

"Of course," Lindback said when asked if he understood why the abrupt exit created some concern. "But as I said, it was more of a precaution. I just wanted to take it a little slowly and get into everything. I hadn't been on the ice for a couple of weeks. I didn't want to rush anything."

The knee episode is just the start of the scrutiny Lindback will endure.

Acquired last summer from the Predators and signed to a two-year, $3.6 million deal, Lindback, 24, is expected to be Tampa Bay's long-term solution in net.

He is expected to be the No. 1 goaltender.

"I'm excited to get the chance to prove myself," he said. "I don't really care that much what people say or think because the most pressure I get is from myself. I want to prove myself so bad."

Lindback looked smooth and comfortable Friday as he crouched and set himself in the crease. He used his right leg to lift himself after dropping to the ice to make saves. He stopped forward Kyle Wilson's snap shot with a quick right leg.

And, most impressively, one on one against Steven Stamkos, Lindback got his left foot out to stop the 60-goal scorer, prompting applause from the approximate 100 fans watching.

"He's an excellent goaltender," said Wilson, who came to the Lightning with Lindback. "I'm glad somebody recognized his talent and is giving him a chance. He deserves it."

Lindback played just 38 games the past two seasons backing up Nashville star Pekka Rinne, who, as Lindback said, "wanted to play every game."

"I learned you have to see practice as your games and do what you have to do and develop, watch and learn everything I can," Lindback said.

It doesn't hurt he is 6 feet 6.

"He's quick, big, and he covers angles pretty well," wing Benoit Pouliot said. "It's tough to get anything through."

"You've got to get him moving side to side," Wilson said. "But he's pretty quick, too. It's tough to score goals on him."

At least it was on Friday.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

One week from today, Tampa will be the center of the hockey world.The NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. Players will smile for the cameras. They'll put on a fantastic show. Maybe they'll catch a bead or two from a Gasparilla parade.But ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Published: 01/19/18
Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Stamkos sat at his stall in a near-empty Lightning dressing room Thursday and did what captains often do:He shouldered some blame for the Lightning's listless 4-1 loss to Vegas."As a leader, I've got to be a lot better,...
Published: 01/19/18
Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

TAMPA — The NHL All-Star Game is coming to town next weekend, reaffirming our community's ability to step into the breach when needed. We don't stop until we get the Winter Olympics. So, don't be surprised if those next Rays stadium plans ...
Published: 01/19/18
Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.This loss wasn't on one person, no question.But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's...
Published: 01/19/18
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising. After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had team...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Golden Knights game

Thought the bye week was a much-needed break for Andrei Vasilevskiy. And though you can’t pin Thursday’s loss on the goalie, he still gave up at least four goals for the fourth straight start (19 overall). Tampa Bay is used to Vasilevskiy’s brillianc...
Published: 01/18/18