TAMPA – It was another ounce of adversity and another opportunity for someone to step up. Netminder Anders Lindback did just that in a 4-2 win versus the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"I saw this as a great opportunity for him and he's seizing the moment," head coach Jon Cooper said.
Ben Bishop's play carried the workload through most of the season, an injury gave Lindback a chance. he appears a changed player in net over the last two contests who said more time has helped.
"I'm getting into the rhythm of the game," Lindback said. "You see it differently than when you only get to play once in a while.
"I've been trying to overdo things and almost work too hard at some pucks than just letting the game come to me. I think I've been better at that lately."
His play and 34-save effort Thursday also left the Times Forum roaring in one of the loudest games at home all year.
The Lightning said they had confidence during pre-game interviews, but Lindback had to instill that assurance in his play. It was more tha eight minutes before Lindback saw his first shot of the game when Jakub Voracek sent a wrist shot his way at 12:43 of the opening period.
The span included no shots on a Flyers' power play. The Lightning then took a 1-0 lead when Tyler Johnson scored his 24th goal of the season for a new franchise rookie record. The goal was fitting as the feed to Johnson came from Steven Stamkos, who previously held the record.
Five minutes later was the real turning point. Lindback was given a roaring applause from the crowd after he swatted a puck away with his glove from his knees in what seemed like an impossible save and then stop the ensuing rebound from in front of the net.
Momentum then stayed in the Bolts' favor in the second when the Lightning power play peppered Ray Emery with five shots. Again, Lindback made an outstanding save on a Voracek shorthanded breakaway followed by a flurry of Flyers' shots that kept the Lightning nursing a one-goal lead.
The Flyers evened the game at one with 1:21 left in the second frame on a power play though, as Wayne Simmonds was fed a backhanded pass from Claude Giroux.
Defending a two-goal lead, Radko Gudas then covered in between the pipes as Lindback got tangled between players and the defenseman made two saves of his own. Minutes later, however, Philadelphia's Sean Couturier was credited with a marker that brought the Flyers within one when Ondrej Palat deflected the puck past Lindback.
Steven Stamkos managed to seal the victory for the Lightning with their first goal on the man advantage of the night late in the third period.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay closes out the regular season with their second game in as many nights versus the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday. The Lightning then finish their season slate versus the Washington Capitals Sunday before playing the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.