Four games into the 2013-2014 NHL season, it looks as if the Tampa Bay Lightning have finally found someone capable of grasping the no. 1 goaltender position and running with it. So you can imagine the outcry amongst fans when it was announced Friday morning that hot hand Ben Bishop suffered a lower body injury during the team’s 7-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
While not considered very serious, the team does plan to give Bishop a few days rest, meaning Anders Lindback will get another chance to prove he can give the Lightning stability where it matters most. How he performs will be incredibly important given their upcoming schedule featuring five playoff teams from last season.
A solid showing could go a long way toward determining how many starts he receives this season, while a poor one might just land him the role of bench-warmer. Believe me when I say that’s a position no player wants to be in.
Unfortunately, Lindback’s numbers so far this season (3.10 GAA and .880 save percentage) weren’t nearly good enough to keep him on the ice night after night. Granted, he only played in the Lightning’s season opening loss to the Boston Bruins before Bishop took complete control with an eye-opening performance against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, jump-starting the team’s current three game win streak.
Now, it’s up to Lindback to determine whether the Lightning keeps on rolling because they’re still a young, relatively inexperienced team. One that needs solid netminding in order to stay in, and possibly win, games.
Can Lindback provide that? Though nobody knows what will happen when Bishop returns, he’s got an opportunity. Something many would kill to have.