TAMPA — Lightning goalie Anders Lindback wanted to seize the moment in his first playoff start.
But in Wednesday's 5-4 overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Lindback was often under siege.
Montreal outshot the Lightning 44-25, and while Lindback gave up some goals he likely would want to have back, he made some stellar saves — 39 overall — to give his team a chance.
"He was huge for us," center Alex Killorn said. "He had some tremendous saves that kept us in the game. He's played well the past few weeks. We're excited about him."
Lindback, 25, who had won three straight since taking over for injured starter Ben Bishop last week, said he was more excited than nervous going in, even though he had logged just 13 playoff minutes his entire career (in 2011 with Nashville).
"I'm just disappointed we didn't win," he said.
But with the Lightning admittedly playing a little tentatively, and sloppily, especially early in the game, Lindback had to do more than his share. The Canadiens outshot the Lightning 14-4 in the first period and 35-16 in regulation, with Tampa Bay racking up 11 giveaways.
"A couple of those goals, we hung him out to dry a little bit," coach Jon Cooper said. "He made all the saves he had to make. We just can't give a team like this these chances, because if you give them enough chances, they will score."
Lindback appeared frustrated after giving up a tying goal to Tomas Plekanec just 19 seconds after the Lightning opened the scoring in the first period. He made the first save on a shorthanded breakaway from Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who knocked in the rebound to tie it at 2. The wrist shot by center Lars Eller just squeaked past him, a goal sparked by a bad Lightning turnover. And Thomas Vanek's redirection on a two-on-one came off a perfect pass.
Lindback would thwart a Montreal flurry in overtime and see a shot clank of the right post before the winner, scored with 1 minute, 52 seconds left in overtime. Center Daniel Briere, from behind the net, made a backhand pass out front to Dale Weise, who said, "I won't miss too many from there."
"I kind of came out, turned my head and saw the pass come out, and I was a little late on the play," Lindback said. "And he buried it. He made a nice play."
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]