TAMPA -- In their previous trip to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Oct. 24, 2010, the Nashville Predators started a 6-foot-6 behemoth in the net and he responded by making 42 saves and leading them to a 4-3 win, their first in Tampa since their inaugural season in 1998-99.
Thursday these two teams meet again, at Tampa Bay Times Forum, and that same oversized netminder will be on the ice again, only this time he’ll be wearing a Lightning sweater.
Anders Lindback will make his 10th start of the season and first against his previous team. He’ll bring a 2-6-1 record into the game, but that hardly is indicative of how he has played. When Lindback has been between the pipes the Lightning are averaging 1.8 goals per game. Contrast that with the 3.04 goals of support that Tampa Bay is generating for its other goalie, Ben Bishop.
"We're scoring goals for one guy and not scoring for the other," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I look at Lindback and I think the guys are pressed to get him goals. We have to reverse our mindset a little."
Despite Lindback's record, Nashville coach Barry Trotz knows from personal experience how good his team's former goalie can be.
"He played really well for us," Trotz said. "We know what he is capable of doing. I do know that he has played pretty good, but when he has played he hasn't had the run production. He's like a pitcher that's not getting any runs. So we understand that and we know how good he can be. We know that he'll be motivated but we're going to try and get something by him [Thursday]."
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman returns to the ice Thursday after missing six games with a lower-body injury.
"He's been our best defenseman," Cooper said. "He plays on the power play, the penalty kill, he plays 25 minutes a night. Pull Shea Weber of the Predators and hit 'replay.'"
Here are the projected lines for the Predators and Lightning:
Nick Spaling - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Eric Nystrom - Mike Fisher - Viktor Stalberg
Colin Wilson - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith
Rich Clune - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks
Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Victor Bartley - Kevin Klein
Seth Jones - Ryan Ellis
Scratched: Gabriel Bourque, Mattias Ekholm
Injured: Pekka Rinne (hip), Filip Forsberg (upper body)
Teddy Purcell – Valtteri Filppula – Alex Killorn
Martin St. Louis – Tyler Johnson – Ondrej Palat
Nikita Kucherov – J.T. Brown – Richard Panik
Nate Thompson – B.J. Crombeen
Eric Brewer – Radko Gudas
Sami Salo – Victor Hedman
Matthew Carle – Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Mark Barberio, Pierre-Cedric Labrie
Injured: Keith Aulie (broken hand), Ryan Malone (lower body), Tom Pyatt (broken collar bone), Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia)