By Amanda DiPaolo
After Nashville’s 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, the Predators announced that goalie Mark Dekanich had been reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.
Dekanich saw 49:59 minutes of ice time on Saturday night and made 22 saves on 25 shots. The Vancouver, B.C. native being returned to Milwaukee means that Nashville’s starting goaltender, Pekka Rinne, out since after the December 1st game in Columbus, is set to return.
With Rinne out most of the month, it was rookie goaltender Anders Lindback who was at the helm of Nashville’s net for eight games, posting a 6-1-1 record during that span.
Before Saturday night’s game against the Kings, Lindback boasted a 1.43 goals against average and a .949 save percentage since Rinne was injured for the second time this season. Lindback’s 6-1-1 record included back-to-back shutouts, the first rookie netminder for Nashville to achieve such a distinction.
So far this season, Lindback’s first in North America, his record stands at 9-2-2 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average.
While many of the opponents the Predators have played lately call the Eastern Conference home, Lindback carried Nashville through some tough conference games including wins against San Jose and on the road in Detroit against the Red Wings.
A rookie netminder might get nervous playing such hockey power houses, but not Lindback. “I don’t get too nervous. I was excited actually,” he said about playing Detroit for the first time.
Lindback lists Niklas Lidstrom as one of his childhood heroes and said he grew up watching him play. But at the end of the day, for Lindback, playing Detroit and winning in Detroit was just another two points for the Predators. “I think we played a really good road game. It’s hard to get points in that arena and we got two.”
With Rinne’s return to the game, it is unknown who will start against Chicago on Wednesday, though after Saturday night’s loss Lindback probably wants the nod even more than usual. In a post-game interview, Lindback stated that he was already excited for the next game to try to bounce back.
When that next game will be, no one, save perhaps the coaching staff, knows for sure. What is certain is that Lindback has proven to the world that he belongs in the NHL. And he is settling across the pond from his native Sweden nicely. Just ask him what he is doing for Christmas.
“Actually my family is coming in from Sweden. We are going to probably try to have a Swedish Christmas. It’ll be fun,” Lindback said with a laugh.
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