This season probably has not gone the way that Anders Lindback had planned.
Before Tuesday, he had only played in 14 games this season, had only posted 3 wins in those 14 games and, at one point, had a three-and-a-half month stretch without a victory.
In addition, going into Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild, Lindback had not posted a win at Bridgestone Arena since December 2010.
When Pekka Rinne went down with an illness, Lindback got the call for the game on Tuesday night and he answered it to the best of his ability.
Through three periods, Lindback held the Wild to just 1 goal on 24 shots, but only had 1 goal of support to help him. Thus, the game went to overtime, where the two team’s remained deadlocked.
Compared to Saturday’s 5-4 duel against the Blackhawks, Tuesday’s game was a battle of defensive juggernauts for the Predators.
“I think it was a little different game from the Chicago game – a little slower – but I think we did a good job at our own end,” Lindback said. “I didn’t have to take a lot of rebounds. The guys did a good job in front of me.”
Ultimately, the two teams headed to a shootout – the first in Lindback’s career.
“It’s been almost two years now,” Lindback said. “I’ve been waiting to get it over with for a little bit. It was fun to help the team out.”
“We had them back in Sweden,” he added, “but it was a couple of years ago.”
In the shootout, Lindback faced all three Minnesota shooters – Erik Christensen, Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi. The puck got away from Christensen on the first attempt, but Lindback was forced to actually face the shots of the other two Wild shooters.
“I was focused,” Lindback said. “I only had to make two saves there, and (Alexander Radulov) threw down one.”
Throw one down Radulov did, as he beat Minnesota netminder Nicklas Backstrom for the only goal of the shootout. That goal gave the Predators the victory.
For Lindback, he at least had a decent idea of what to expect when two of the league’s best shootout artists in Christensen and Koivu came bearing down on him. However, as he pointed out, you still have to figure out which illusion they will pull out of their box of shootout magic.
“We do a lot of prescouting,” he said, “but most of it, you just have to read and react. We practice shootouts a lot in practice.”
“He’s come up with a couple big wins for us,” Trotz said about Lindback. ”The last two starts he’s onlygiven up two goals. He’s been really, really solid.”
Playing so rarely this season, getting the start this late in the year was extra special for the Swedish goaltender.
“It’s always nice to play,” Lindback said. “I want to win every game I play. It’s always nice to help out. The guys did a great job defensively.”
Finally, the win at Bridgestone Arena meant that, after not winning a home game in 2011, Lindback now has a win for 2012.
“It’s great, especially at this time of the year when we’re hunting for fourth place and hunting for home-ice advantage,” he said. “It’s always more fun to win at home.”