After Feeling Off In First vs. Sabres, Lindgren Driven By Coaches’ Words & Dad To Bounce Back
Washington Capitals netminder Charlie Lindgren had a rough start on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres, but then bounced back after eight words from goaltending coach Scott Murray and seeing his dad in the stands.
WASHINGTON — With a lot on the line for the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Charlie Lindgren didn't feel right through the first 20 minutes against the Buffalo Sabres, which resulted in three goals on six shots against to kick things off. He went back to the locker room upset with his performance, which his father, Bob, was watching from the stands.
While the goals weren't all on him, the situation weighed heavily on No. 79's shoulders. Ultimately, goaltending Scott Murray went up to Lindgren and said something that flipped a switch for the 29-year-old netminder.
"I'm not going to lie, that first period, I really didn't feel myself for whatever reason. I just felt like I wasn't really on it. After that first period, we got back into the locker room here and Scotty Murray came up and talked me, just said, 'You've got 23 guys here that love you.'"
It was a rough 24 hours going into Wednesday's must-win matchup, too. Following a disappointing 5-3 loss at Madison Square Garden, the team was late coming home from the Big Apple after the flight was delayed due to high winds. But somehow, someway, Lindgren was able to find the spark he needed to bounce back.
"We had some adversity. It was a late night, not everyone had their postgame meal," he laughed. "You know, but we're playing a young, fast Buffalo team, and to come back and win the way we did, this might be the best-feeling win all year."
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He went up to head coach Peter Laviolette and said that he was ready to bounce back, and the coaching staff let him stay in. He didn't disappoint, as through the final 45 minutes of play in regulation and overtime followed by a shootout, Lindgren stuck it out and put on a show with a renewed sense of belief and a desire to win for his team, his coaches and more importantly, his dad, who's a goalie himself and inspired Lindgren to take up the position.
The backup netminder, who was playing in his first full game since Feb. 23, put on a show and found that spark he needed by stopping 20 of the final 21 shots he faced. He was moving confidently in the crease and coming up with some big stops to keep his team in it. Washington was able to rally from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits with three third-period goals to force extra time and then completed the comeback with a huge shootout win. Lindgren stopped both shootout attempts from top Sabres Alex Tuch and Tage Thompson to secure the "W."
"There's so many things where, when it gets down to it when you don't feel good, you've just got to find ways to just persevere and battle through it," Lindgren said. "I feel like I did that, but more importantly, the team did that."
While he wouldn't take credit for the win, his teammates were thrilled with his ability to rebound and said that he has been one of the bright spots of a hectic season.
"Chucky, he's a competitor. It's nice to see a goalie that honestly hates getting scored on as much in a game as he does in practice. Sometimes, that's a rare thing," T.J. Oshie said. "I think that's one of the reasons why he was able to hang in there for us after a couple tough bounces, a couple tough odd-man rushes and some backdoor plays. He's just a competitor. I wouldn't expect anything less out of him. We've only been together for not even a full season yet, but that guy grinds and he won't quit."