Lindback has waited for chance to become a starting goalie - WFLA News Channel 8

Lindback has waited for chance to become a starting goalie

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When Anders Lindback was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning last summer, he sought fellow Swede Victor Hedman who was an old friend and a now a new teammate. Hedman had recently bought a house and let Lindback move in to one of the rooms.

"It's good so far," said Lindback. "I heard we got the gas going today so we've got hot water now."

Wait, no hot water?

"It's there now," Hedman said. "I just told [Lindback] we will celebrate when we get back."

Soon, Lindback could be celebrate being named a number one goalie for the first time in his NHL career.

At 6-6, he's among the tallest net minders in NHL history.  But Lindback is short on experience.

The 24-year-old has only played 38 games in his two-year career. He was the backup in Nashville.

"You can't get experience if you're not playing so that's a big thing for me," Lindback said.

But Lindback showed enough potential in that short time, including a win in Tampa last year. The Lightning were dead last in save percentage in 2011-12 so the team traded for Lindback with hopes he could be the long-term solution in goal.

For now, he's battling for the starting job with veteran Mathieu Garon. Coach Guy Boucher has not named a starter for Saturday's season opener against Washington.

"Friday we'll make our decision not necessarily on what we've seen during the week but what our bigger plan is," said Boucher.

The "bigger plan" seems to indicate he is learning toward Lindback, who signed a two-year $3.6 million contract in July.

Lindback's journey to the top has not been without obstacles. Shortly before he was drafted in 2008, Lindback was diagnosed with Adult-onset Still's disease. It's a rare ailment that causes joint pain, among other symptoms. It scared other teams from drafting Lindback, and he fell to the seventh round.

"I got pretty sick," Lindback said. "I was in the hospital for three weeks before they really diagnosed me with that. It was kind of a long and painful process, but once they got a hold of it and started medicating it, it's been fine.

"It's all turned out good, I guess."
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