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Lightning gives Lindback 'breather'

NEW YORK — As his teammates went through their usual morning skate routines Thursday, Lightning G Anders Lindback worked at the other end of the ice with goaltenders coach Frantz Jean.

It was the kind of intensive work the struggling Lindback needs to get back on track, coach Guy Boucher said.

"He got a lot of games and a lot of pressure," Boucher said. "Right now, we're just stepping back and giving him a breather."

How long that lasts is dependent on how steady is Mathieu Garon, who in his past four games, including three starts, has a 2.47 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Lindback in his past four starts has a 4.20 goals-against average and .846 save percentage.

The short-term plan does not change the long-term vision of Lindback as a bona fide No. 1.

"We just need ice time for him to practice," Boucher said. "He needs to go through repetition. He needs to go through practice time. You can watch all the video you want. In the end, you need repetition on the ice."

"This is what I've been doing for two years because I didn't play a lot before I got here," Lindback said of his two seasons (38 games) as the backup to Nashville's Pekka Rinne. "You work on certain details every day."

That said, "You get more experience playing," Lindback added. "You can't duplicate games."

But as Boucher noted, "It's not the opportunity to get back in there. It's the opportunity when you are prepared. If you don't feel prepared, you're not going to have success. We're just going to give him enough time to breathe and get prepared again, and he'll go back in."

MOVES: D Brendan Mikkelson and RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were back with the team after two-week conditioning assignments at AHL Syracuse. And with D Sami Salo out with a lower-body injury, Mikkelson played against the Rangers.

"It was good to be in the lineup and get good ice time and be in those game scenarios that are pretty hard to replicate, no matter what you do," Mikkelson said, "plays under pressure when you know a guy is coming to take your head off."

Mikkelson was plus-4 in seven games with Syracuse. Labrie had three goals, two assists. The Crunch did not lose with them in the lineup.

"It was fun," Labrie said. "It was fun winning."

FLAWED: The Rangers dominated Tampa Bay on faceoffs, winning 38 of 57. New York's Brad Richards won 17 of 20. Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos lost 15 of 20, and Vinny Lecavalier lost 12 of 18.

INJURY REPORT: Salo did not skate Thursday, but Boucher said he might play Saturday at Boston. … Boucher reiterated that LW Ryan Malone, out 10 games with a lower-body injury, likely will join the team on its four-game road trip.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Rangers swept the three-game season series and outscored Tampa Bay 12-4. … Stamkos' eight-game points streak (seven goals, seven assists) is the league's longest active. … Cory Conacher's six-game points streak ended. … Conacher, decked by Darroll Powe late in the third period, is fine, the team said. ... Labrie, scratched against the Rangers, likely will play at Boston. … F Adam Hall also was scratched as Tampa Bay used 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Lightning gives Lindback 'breather' 02/28/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 12:30am]

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