WASHINGTON – Anders Lindback picked up his third win this week in a 1-0 shootout success versus the Washington Capitals Sunday at Verizon Center to help the Tampa Bay Lightning secure home ice advantage in the First Round of the playoffs.
"Really proud of him in one sense, but happy for him in another," head coach Jon Cooper said. "You cheer for guys like Lindback. Ben Bishop played so well and Lindy just kept working.
"But you continue to believe in yourself and you believe you're going to get your chance – he'll be the first one to tell you he didn't want his chance to come the way it came – and he keeps seizing the moment."
After he went 34 games between wins, Lindback has boasted a sparking 0.65 goals-against average and .975 save percentage during the three-game stretch and he has also stopped 77 of 79 shots during that span.
The Lightning netminder faced a Capitals' season-low seven shots combined in the first 40 minutes of play, but Washington's lone power play of the game to start the third doubled that number to 14.
"He didn't get tested too much early, so he had to hang in there a little bit," Cooper said. "Eventually Washington was going to get a power play and he won us the game on that."
Lindback remained calm and collected thereafter, and didn't allow any goals from the Caps through regulation and the extra frame. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were all denied in the ensuing shootout.
"The speed was a lot faster," Kunyk said. "I felt like after my second shift I'd already played a full game."
Kunyk was eased into his debut after practicing with the Bolts for more than two weeks.
"Being around the guys and seeing how they play helped me get more comfortable before I stepped into today's game," Kunyk said. "I tripped over the red line when I was out there, but I think it went pretty well."
In addition, defenseman Sami Salo managed to return to the lineup after he missed the two previous contests.
"Today was a good day for me to return," Salo said. "You don't want to miss games heading into the playoffs, you want to stay in a good rhythm."
The victory helped the Lightning eclipse the 100-point mark for just the third time in franchise history and also tied its franchise record of 46 wins set in 2003-04 and matched in 2010-11.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay opens up the playoffs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Wednesday versus the Montreal Canadiens. It is also the first time since 1973 that the Habs are the only Canadian team represented in the NHL postseason.