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Despite pulling Lindback, Cooper says ‘there’s no goaltending controversy’

Apr 18, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT

Anders Lindback is 0-2 through two playoff games with a 3.69 goals-against average, a .880 save percentage and was yanked during Friday’s defeat to Montreal — yet according to Bolts head coach Jon Cooper, all’s well in Tampa’s goal.

There will undoubtedly be some people disagreeing with Cooper, especially those that saw his move to Kristers Gudlevskis with just under six minutes remaining as a possible series introduction for the Latvian netminder.

To be fair, Lindback isn’t to blame for Tampa losing both games at home to start the series. The Lightning were sloppy and made defensive mistakes throughout Game 1 and failed to generate consistent offensive pressure in Game 2, coming within two minutes of being shut out before Teddy Purcell snapped a power play marker past Carey Price to break the goose egg.

That said, it’s clear Tampa isn’t getting the same goaltending it enjoyed during the regular season with Ben Bishop manning the net. The NHL’s tallest netminder put forth a Vezina-caliber season, going 37-14-7 (4th in the NHL in wins) with a 2.23 GAA (7th), .924 save percentage (7th) and five shutouts (5th).

It’ll be very interesting to see if Cooper considers going with Gudlevskis for Game 3. While the 21-year-old is raw and inexperienced, he did wow onlookers at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, nearly orchestrating an upset of Canada in the quarterfinals by stopping 55 of 57 shots in what Price called “one of the best goaltending performances I’ve ever seen in a long time.”

  1. georgejarkko - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Lindback should start packing up all his household belongings.

  2. pfhockey - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Maybe sign Vasilevski? He’s been great in the KHL this year and still 19.

  3. afrancis55 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    First order of business for Tampa’s offseason, probably starting middle of next week, should be dumping the following bums: Lindback, Malone, Brewer, and Crombeen.

  4. terrier92 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    You can’t win in playoffs with mediocre goaltending

    • alicesrightfootesq - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      “I’ll show you!!!” – Paul Holmgren every year

  5. stcrowe - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    Facing off against Carey Price brought out the best in Gudlevskis in Sochi. He might deliver again if given a shot. It’s not like Lindback is getting the job done.

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