The Montreal Canadiens were terrible last night, but Charlie Lindgren was excellent, holding his team in a game it had no business being in. Lindgren is ready to be the full-time backup next season, as the Habs most likely planned from the day he was first signed.
Lindgren has performed well when up with the Habs this season, with a determined effort to get in front of shots and a penchant for making saves that many goaltenders couldn’t. Last night he had at least five saves that he should not have been able to make in the second period alone. Alas, it was not enough for the Habs.
The rise of Lindgren, the undrafted goalie from St. Cloud State University, has been a god-send for the Habs at times. When Carey Price is injured, they have had a young goalie they can call up who can fill the role of a solid platoon goalie. He has been able to do this while playing behind bad defences that lean heavily on their goalies to get wins.
While Lindgren has struggled this year with the Laval Rocket, he has done well with the Habs. He has held them in games that they have no business being in and has even come away with a win in a few of those games. He pulled the St. John’s IceCaps into the playoffs last season by playing lights out for most of the year.
Lindgren was exceptional against the Toronto Maple Leafs and was the only reason that the Habs did not lose the game by more than four goals. If this is the type of play that Lindgren can give the Habs even some of the time, they are very lucky. He was a good find and is on a great contract for the next three seasons. The Habs should not expect this type of performance from him regularly, because no goalie should have to play that well just to keep a game relatively close.
Charlie Lindgren has spent his time in the Habs organization dragging an AHL team to the playoffs or filling in for an injured Price while getting shelled in the process. Through it all, Lindgren has shown that he has the resume and the skill set to be a fine number-two for next season.