Generally in the NHL the competition for a No. 1 goalie position is a pressure-packed affair that can consume a training camp.

But the battle between Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop for the Lightning's top spot is more collaboration than competition more learning experience than test of skill.

That is because Tampa Bay has declared Lindback and Bishop will not start the season as No. 1 and No. 2 but as equals.

"We're probably going to start the season by sharing the load and see where it goes from there" goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Said coach Jon Cooper: "People are going to say whoever gets the opening-game start must be their starting goalie. Well he's starting that night."

Cooper said the best scenario is for a No. 1 to emerge "because that's a good sign he's playing really well and you're probably winning." But he isn't opposed to a seasonlong tandem: "If that's our winning formula then that's how we do it."

It will be a highly scrutinized process. Lindback has played just 62 NHL games Bishop 45.

Lindback 25 had positioning woes last season — "In parts of the season I was too much everywhere" — and was 10-10-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

Bishop 26 an accomplished stick-handler acquired in April from the Senators for Cory Conacher was 3-4-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He lost the No. 1 job playing for the United States at the world championship in May.