When Anders Lindback was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, sarcastic folks deemed it a perfect marriage: a deeply struggling goalie on a team that essentially wants to struggle.
Of course, Lindback doesn’t want to struggle; he wants to save his NHL career, and if he does a good job of that, things will get interesting … and maybe a little hostile.
The Buffalo News argues that Lindback could become one of “the most reviled Sabres ever” on the heels of Tuesday’s dazzling performance in a win.
The second-best stretch of Lindback’s career has Buffalo hockey fans cursing him in the name of Connor McDavid. The goalie stole three points this week that never should have been in Buffalo’s bank. If he keeps it up for the final 12 games, 30th place might become a thing of the past.
At any other time in Sabres history, Lindback would be a triumphant feel-good story. Instead, he’ll enter the crease Friday against New Jersey or Saturday in Nashville with Blue and Gold backers begging for him to fail.
In stopping 44 of the Boston Bruins’ 45 shots in that surprising win, Lindback grabbed his first victory with Buffalo. One win seemingly doesn’t justify hand-wringing, yet it’s remarkable how much his individual stats have improved since being moved. Just look at this comparison:
10 games with the Dallas Stars: 2-8-0, .875 save percentage, 3.71 GAA
Seven games with Buffalo: 1-3-2, .934 save percentage, 2.41 GAA
That basically looks like the work of a bad goalie in 1985 and the work of a great goalie in 2015, side-by-side.
As the Buffalo News notes, this would normally be a heartwarming situation, but instead it’s a cause for concern.
Then again, if Buffalo gets worried, they could always just “test the rotation” by playing Lindback less often, right?
This all brings about a question for Sabres fans in the audience: who is the most reviled member of the team (past or present) in your mind?