BOSTON — Round 1 in the Tampa Bay Lightning goaltending competition went to Anders Lindback.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper chose Lindback to start in goal over Ben Bishop for Thursday’s season-opening game against Boston. In what will be a developing storyline in the early part of the season, Lindback and Bishop will share the workload until one of the two grabs hold of the position.
Lindback just happened to get the first start.
“I think both guys had times where they were exceptional in the preseason, and there were times where they were average,’’ Cooper said. “We have three games on the road, and I can’t predict who was going to play two of the three, but we’re hoping that one will play two games and one will play the other.”
Some of what factored into Cooper’s decision was the performance Lindback put in during Tamp Bay’s game at Boston on April 25, when he stopped 22 shots in a 2-0 loss.
Lindback is not focused on who gets the start, but he just wants to concentrate on how he plays when he gets the call.
“I have to play good every day, practice good everyday and play good all the time,’’ Lindback said. “It keeps pressure on me, and that’s always a good thing. But at the same time, what it comes down to is (the goaltenders) are a team, both of us want to win games and help the team. So, it’s a good thing, so I feel good about it.’’
For Bishop, sharing time is nothing new. He has done it for most of his professional career, in the minors and the NHL.
“I think it’s good you have to play well to play. It’s not given to you. You have to earn it,’’ Bishop said. “(Not starting Thursday) is not one of the things you can dwell on. It’s a long season. There are a lot of games, and there are always factors the coaches have going into games. It’s out of your control. You just go out there and play well when you get your chance to play.’’
D Sami Salo sat out the season opener as a late scratch with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Salo, 39, has not missed any practice time in recent days and took part in Thursday’s morning skate alongside Victor Hedman, who has been his defensive partner since the start of training camp.
But when the team came out for warm-ups, Salo was not on the ice and rookie D Mark Barberio, who was scheduled to be a healthy scratch, was on the ice.
Salo has a history of injuries in his career, but he appeared in 46 of the 48 games last season. He is in the final year of a two-year contract.
The Lightning start the season against the two Stanley Cup finalists from last season, heading out to face defending champion Chicago on Saturday after starting against Boston. Instead of looking at it as a negative, Cooper has a different view of it.
“Those cruel schedule-makers throw the baby Bolts against the two Stanley Cup finalists on the road to open up, so I think we’ve looked at this as a great gauge to see where we are at,’’ Cooper said. “A lot of people — well, actually, everybody — has picked us out of the playoffs, and so we are just going to be that team that everybody is going to try to come and to kick around. We have other ideas. So we like being under the radar, and there is no better test for us, so we are going to embrace it going against the best.’’
Nuts and Bolts
Rays LHP David Price and bench coach Dave Martinez were part of a small group from the Rays in attendance. Price is scheduled to start Saturday’s Game 2 against the Red Sox in the best-of-five divisional-round series. Game 1 is this afternoon. ... D Keith Aulie and C Tom Pyatt were healthy scratches. ... C Nate Thompson will wear the “A’’ as an alternate captain for road games in the first half of the season, while D Matt Carle will hold that distinction at home. ... The Lightning had six rookies in the lineup: Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Andrej Sustr, Radko Gudas and Barberio. ... The penalty shot attempt given up by Tampa Bay was the 38th all-time, and the 19th successful goal against the Lightning.