When the Lightning needed him the most, Anders Lindback stood tall Saturday evening.
In his initial game for Tampa Bay, the 6-foot-6 Swedish goaltender stopped 27 Washington shots in a season-opening 6-3 triumph.
Tampa Bay never trailed, despite committing three penalties within the first seven minutes. The Capitals fired 17 shots in the opening period alone, scoring on Joel Ward's power-play goal at the 8:25 mark.
Ward and Wojtek Wolski added second-period goals for the Caps, but Lindback flashed a quick glove all night as a sellout crowd of 19,204 roared in approval.
"He looked awesome,'' said Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman, who played 30 shifts. "Anders made some key saves for us, especially early in the game when we really needed him to step up. He looked calm and he played aggressive, and that was huge.''
After yielding the most goals in the NHL last year, the Lightning entered the offseason determined to land an upgrade in net.
In June, general manager Steve Yzerman engineered a trade with Nashville for a 24-year-old goaltender who had been backing up Pekka Rinne.
"This is an opportunity for me, and that's exactly how I'm treating it,'' Lindback said. "It's a great room filled with guys who have made me feel welcome … tonight was a good start.''
When the game ended, Lindback was swarmed by jubilant teammates for a solid debut in Tampa.
"I thought he looked good,'' said Martin St. Louis, who scored twice against Braden Holtby and added an assist. "We gave up three power plays to them almost back to back at the start and Lindback did a nice job holding them off.''
Playing in his 39th career NHL game, Lindback deflected the credit.
"Our penalty killers did a good job in front of me and I don't think Washington had a lot of real good scoring chances,'' said Lindback, who will share goaltending duties with veteran Mathieu Garon.
"The crowd was great and I could feel the energy in the building. I felt comfortable from the start and I just want to do my job. We've got a good team and all I want to do is give these guys a chance to win every night.''