With goaltender Mathieu Garon still working his way back from a lower-body injury and the coaching staff looking to give Anders Lindback a rest, recent AHL call-up Cedrick Desjardins will make his season debut tonight against his former club, the Montreal Canadiens.
Desjardins got his start in the Montreal organization after coming out of the QMJHL, where he played for Lightning head coach Guy Boucher with Rimouski Oceanic. He then spent four seasons playing with the Hamilton Bulldogs, including one more year with Boucher in 2009.
His re-acquisition in a trade was done for exactly this scenario, as the Lightning brass didn't feel Dustin Tokarski was ready to even be a full-time or spot-start NHL back-up.
Desjardins is 2-0 in his brief in NHL career. He appeared in two starts for the Lightning in 2010-2011, winning both, including a victory over the Canadiens on December 30, 2010 where he stopped 27 of 28 shots.
Dwayne Roloson was acquired the next day and Desjardins never donned a Lightning sweater again — until tonight.
Hopefully starting Desjardins tonight doesn't shake the confidence of young goalie Anders Lindback, who has performed admirably in his last two starts for the Lightning (.926 and .929 SV%, 1-1 record). The 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets certainly wasn't his fault in spite of a pair of soft goals allowed, as it is very difficult to win a game when you only get one goal at home behind a career back-up goaltender.
While the Lightning continue slumping, the Canadiens sit atop the Eastern Conference entering play tonight and are 6-3-1 in their last ten games, while the Lightning skid continues. Tampa Bay is just 3-7 in their last ten match-ups.
With time slipping away to gain points in the mediocre Southeast Division and crowded Eastern Conference, the Bolts need to start stringing some wins together to gain some ground.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
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