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Lightning support G Lindback in 4-2 win

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- With a backup goalie in net, the Tampa Bay Lightning came through with four goals, helping goaltender Anders Lindback to a win against his former team.

Tje Lightning opened an early lead and beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Thursday night at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"He's deserved better from us," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team had two goals in Lindback's last three losses. "For us to get four for him, for him to shut the door like he did, he's deserved this. ... He was on today."

Lindback (3-6-1) had the lead from the opening three minutes and posted 19 saves in the first two periods against the team that traded him to Tampa before last season.

"These kind of games against your old team, it's always a little special," Lindback said. "You recognize a lot of their players, what they tend to do. I would say they have a good scouting report on me. I had a good one on them, too."

The Lightning (21-11-3) continued their strong play on home ice, having gone 8-1-1 in the last 10 games in Tampa. The Predators (16-16-3) dropped back to .500.

Lightning center Alex Killorn scored just 2:25 into the game, putting one defender on his back with a stop move and then waiting as Nashville defenseman Seth Jones screened goalie Carter Hutton before flicking the puck just to Jones' left and Hutton's right for a 1-0 lead.

"Once he started drifting, I figured it might be nice to get a little screen," said Killorn, who later added an assist. "It worked out well."

In the final minute of the first period, right winger Martin St. Louis made it 2-0 for Tampa Bay, getting his 14th goal of the season to tie center Steven Stamkos for the team lead.

Twice in the second period, the Predators got scores from center Craig Smith to get within a goal, only to give up a score shortly after.

Smith's 11th goal of the season made it 2-1 with 13:24 left in the second period, but less than two minutes later, right winger Teddy Purcell took a centering pass from center Valtteri Filppula for his eighth goal of the season and a 3-1 lead.

With 6:58 left in the second period, Smith struck again for his 12th goal of the season on a power play, but this time, it was only 49 seconds later that the Lightning answered, with right winger Richard Panik getting his second goal of the season. Defenseman Eric Brewer notched his 250th career point with an assist on the score. Hutton was pulled after the fourth goal and replaced by Marek Mazanec.

The Lightning has gotten stellar play from primary goalie Ben Bishop (18-5-2), but Cooper was pleased to see a solid game in support of Lindback, who nearly scored himself on a high flick against an empty net in the final minute.

"He's played extremely well for us," Cooper said. "Bishop has been ... they've been A and A-plus. So hopefully we can continue to give him some goal support."

The Lighting never trailed and kept Nashville from getting any momentum by answering both second-period goals before any tension could build.

"Momentum killers," Cooper said. "You sit there, you've got a two-goal lead and now it's a one-goal lead. You feel like the other team might be getting a little life. Panik's goal was the big goal, to get that right away. They had climbed back into it twice."

The Lightning stay home to host Carolina on Saturday and play Monday at Florida before a five-day break. The Predators return home for two games before Christmas, playing host to Montreal on Saturday and Boston on Monday.

NOTES: RW Martin St. Louis' first-period goal was his 14th of the season, tying him for the Lightning team lead with C Steven Stamkos, who has missed more than half the season with a broken leg. Stamkos is skating again and hopes to play in the Olympics in February. ... Nashville came into the night with the second-fewest goals in the NHL (78). Only the Buffalo Sabres, who had the NHL's worst record, had fewer goals (59). ... One assist on the opening goal went to D Jean-Philippe Cote, who was making his Lightning debut. The 31-year-old veteran earned his first NHL point. He played eight games with the Montreal Canadiens in 2005-06, his only other NHL action.
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