The Tampa Bay Lightning held their last practice of the season on Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, as that is all the schedule would allow as the team will play three games in four days to conclude the regular campaign.
Here are a few notes from practice today:
LOOKING AT LINDBACK
Goaltender Anders Lindback not only played his first game back from injury on Sunday after missing the previous 14 with a high ankle sprain, but the contest was also the first he appeared in under head coach Jon Cooper.
Lindback, for the most part, was solid in allowing three goals on 28 shots, two of which, though, were not really any fault of his own.
For weeks since being named head coach of the Lightning on March 25, Cooper expressed how anxious he was to see Lindback play, and after finally getting his chance, he sounded off at Tuesday’s practice with his thoughts on his netminder’s performance.
“They scored three goals in the first period, but to be honest, I felt bad for him because I didn’t think he had a lot of help. After that though, he was a wall for us and kept us in the game. His confidence grew and we got two back, but I really wish we would have gotten that third goal to help him out a little bit.”
Still on the topic of Lindback, and with only three games left to play in the regular season, Cooper said that both goaltenders, Lindback and Ben Bishop, will earn a chance to start each of the final three games.
Bishop is 2-4-2 since coming to Tampa Bay, and has started eight of the team’s 10 games since joining the Lightning.
Lindback, though, coming off an injury, will need to play before the season ends, and before, as Cooper added, “he has four months off.”
Even if one will perhaps get an additional start over the other, the idea seems on par with general manager Steve Yzerman’s plan for next season, which is to have both Lindback and Bishop share the responsibilities in net in order to feed off each other and allow one another to grow and develop at his own pace without the pressure that comes along with shouldering too much of the workload.
“They’ll both get games, but it’s just a matter of the situation we’re in,” Cooper said. “We’re not going to roll with just one guy in all three, but we’ll decide what to do with each game.”
The Lightning players will wear ribbon decals on the back of their helmets for Thursday night’s game at TD Garden in Boston against the Bruins.
The purpose is to pay tribute to both the victims and families affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon last week, on April 15.
After the game, the helmets will be signed by the players and auctioned off with proceeds benefiting The One Fund Boston.
“It just shows you that there are obviously bigger and more important things going on in the world than just playing hockey, so anything you can do to show your support is great,” said Lightning forward Alex Killorn, who spent four years in the Boston area while playing collegiate hockey at Harvard. “It’ll be emotional, but it will be worth it to show the people of Boston that we’re behind them.”
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