On Sunday night, the Nashville Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks by a 3-1 score. Anders Lindback picked up the win, making 30 saves. It was his first win since December 1st, 2011, a game that saw Lindback replace starter Pekka Rinne midway through the second period.
Head Coach Barry Trotz said Lindback really came through for the Predators Sunday night. “You always talk about players stepping up this time of year and finding a way to contribute. He found a way to contribute tonight. That was our game in hand on Detroit so we actually jumped over them.”
The Predators take over fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Both teams are tied with 92 points, but the Predators hold the tie breaker which is wins that exclude shootout victories.
Lindback said playing a game where a win meant taking over fourth place in the Western Conference standings was big for his confidence.
“It is a chance I want to take. I want to prove to the coaches and to the team that I can play more games,” he said.
The Ducks came out of the gate pressing hard to start the game. Lindback admitted he doesn’t mind seeing some shots on goal. “You don’t want to let in a goal early, but it is nice to get a couple shots early in the game and get into it.”
In the second period, Lindback made some incredible saves to keep the Predators in the game, including a breakaway by Kyle Palmieri at the midway point of the middle frame.
The Palmieri breakway could have been a game changer had the Ducks gone up 2-0. Lindback said Palmieri made a good move on the play. “There isn’t much time to think. We work on that in practice. You just try to react. He made a good fake. I felt the puck bounce my way a couple of times tonight.”
Trotz said keeping the Predators in the game in the second period was huge. “That was a game changer. If they got the second goal, they would probably have won the hockey game. He made that save and kept us in it.”
Trotz said the win was big for Lindback’s confidence after getting some tough assignments this season. “I think this was huge for his confidence. We have given him some tough assignments this year. He wouldn’t play for three or four weeks at a time and then he would have to play against the Rangers or Washington. He has had some really tough assignments. This was a tough assignment because I don’t think we were really sharp.”