The Tampa Bay Lightning have endured a number of injuries lately, but the one to starting goaltender Anders Lindback could end up being their biggest.
Lindback pulled himself from net late in Wednesday night’s relief appearance versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, and early reports indicated a lower-body injury. Then, news came out today that he has a right ankle sprain and will be placed on injured reserve.
This comes at a very bad time for the Lightning, who right now are missing three of their top six forwards in Benoit Pouliot, Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone. Add in the fact Victor Hedman probably isn’t 100 percent after two big hits from Zac Rinaldo and Joffrey Lupul, with the latter resulting in a two-game suspension, and this team might need bubble wrap to protect their remaining players.
Acquired this past offseason from the Nashville Predators, there were high hopes Lindback might eventually become the No.1 netminder Tampa Bay desperately needs. He was even starting to play like one, allowing two goals or less in his past four starts after struggling through much of February.
Meanwhile, the Lightning called up Cedrick Desjardins and Richard Panik from AHL Syracuse to fill the spots Lindback and Malone vacated. Panik has appeared in nine games this season and has only one point, while Desjardins helped blow a late three goal lead in a March 9 loss at home to the Montreal Canadiens.
Either way, losing Lindback puts the Lightning’s already slim playoff hopes on life support, and that would be the icing on yet another disappointing season for Tampa Bay.