TAMPA - In recent games, Tampa Bay Lightning starting goaltender Anders Lindback has occasionally been prone to allowing questionable goals. But coach Guy Boucher said that is not the reason he will turn to Cedrick Desjardins Saturday night when his team meets the Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
It’s not exactly a shot in the dark for Boucher to look to Desjardins, who hasn't appeared in an NHL game since Jan. 1, 2011. A former Montreal prospect, Desjardins faced the Canadiens in his NHL debut on Dec. 30, 2010 and made 27 saves in a 4-1 Lightning win.
But Boucher discounted that as the reason he is turning to his backup netminder, who is actually three years older than 24-year-old Lindback.
“Lindback is a young guy that needs to grow through the hurts and successes that a young guy has to go through," Boucher said after the team's morning skate. "We told him we are going to manage his number of games. We played him probably too much for a while. As a young guy, we have to manage him like we do our forwards and defensemen: Give him his games but not give him too much to chew on.
“There are times he has been great and moments where it’s a learning process for him. He [Lindback] played two [straight] games and I would have changed him anyway. So it’s not about the Canadiens and it’s not even about Lindback. It’s just the fact that I was going to put someone else in after two games, so that’s why Desjardins is going in.”
This is Desjardins’ second time around with the Lightning. He was reacquired by Tampa Bay on Feb. 14 in exchange for netminder Dustin Tokarski. And although he played (and won) two games for the team during the 2010-11 campaign, Boucher isn't taking those appearances into consideration.
“We want to see what we have. We’ve been doing this since the beginning. We’re playing our young guys. We’re playing guys from our American League team. That’s for all positions," Boucher said. "We just feel like we have quality depth and we want this organization to grow. To do that, we don’t want to wait. We want to see what our young guys have. I feel like this is the moment to put him in. If I don’t do it now, I may not get a chance. [Mathieu] Garon will be returning soon and if I don’t put Desjardins in now, I may not get a chance.”
Here are the teams' projected lineups for Saturday's matchup: