TAMPA — With 35 seconds left in Thursday night's game against the Predators, Anders Lindback tried to cap what for him already was the high point of his season.
The Lightning goalie took a shot at an empty net, but a Nashville player tracked it down in the Predators zone.
"It just didn't have the power there at the end," Lindback said.
Even so, after his 4-2 victory at the Tampa Bay Times Forum against the team that traded him in June 2012 to the Lightning, Lindback said, laughing, "I can live with it."
"It's always nice to get a win," he said. "Especially against your old team, it's always special."
Tampa Bay (21-11-3), which with its third straight win moved into second in the Atlantic Division, got goals from Alex Killorn, Marty St. Louis (on the power play), Teddy Purcell and Richard Panik.
Killorn also had an assist. St. Louis' goal was his 350th for the Lightning, and Purcell and Panik scored for the first time in 11 games.
Tampa Bay, which improved to 13-3-1 at home, also played a shutdown third period in which it led 15-9 in shots — 33-30 overall — and preserved the 4-2 lead.
"We didn't score a goal but kept them on their heels the whole time," coach Jon Cooper said. "We didn't sit back. We wanted to win a hockey game and we did."
It was Lindback, though, who had the feel-good story with 28 saves for just his third win of the season.
Things certainly haven't gone Lindback's way as he has been stuck as Ben Bishop's backup. In going 3-6-1 he also has received little support as Tampa Bay entered the game averaging just 1.63 goals in his previous eight starts.
Thursday also was just the second of Lindback's past six starts in which the Lightning scored first.
"It's different," he said of playing with a lead. "I try to face every situation the same, but it's a lie not to say it's always nice to have a lead."
Lindback played with confidence and poise. He was quiet in net, his glove was solid and twice he cleared pucks himself during penalty kills.
"He's played really well for us, but he hasn't gotten the bounces he's wanted," Killorn said. "We knew (the game) was important for him, and it was important for us to get it for him."
If only Lindback had a little more oomph on his empty-net try.
"Can you imagine? That would have been unreal," Cooper said. "We had a two-goal lead, and it didn't matter I was giving him the stare-down. He was going to throw that down there anyway. I like that fire in him."
For Lindback, "It's something to build on."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Killorn 8 (Hedman, Cote), 2:25. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 14 (Salo, Killorn), 19:06 (pp). Penalties—Hendricks, Nas, major (fighting), 5:01; Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 5:01; Gudas, TB (elbowing), 7:53; Thompson, TB (interference), 14:48; Smith, Nas (holding stick), 18:43.
Second Period—3, Nashville, Smith 7 (Cullen, Weber), 6:36. 4, Tampa Bay, Purcell 8 (Filppula, Carle), 8:27. 5, Nashville, Smith 8 (Cullen, Ellis), 13:02 (pp). 6, Tampa Bay, Panik 2 (Brewer, Sustr), 13:51. Penalties—Hendricks, Nas (holding stick), 2:49; Tampa Bay bench, served by Purcell (too many men), 4:36; Gudas, TB (roughing), 11:27; Stalberg, Nas (tripping), 14:36.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Josi, Nas (delay of game), 1:13; Crombeen, TB (tripping), 8:19. Shots on Goal—Nashville 8-13-9—30. Tampa Bay 11-7-15—33. Power-play opportunities—Nashville 1 of 5; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. Goalies—Nashville, Hutton 7-5-1 (14 shots-10 saves), Mazanec (13:51 second, 19-19). Tampa Bay, Lindback 3-6-1 (30-28). A—17,254 (19,204). T—2:31. Referees—Dave Jackson, Brad Meier. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Brian Mach.