TAMPA — Anders Lindback knows there is doubt, knows there are those waiting for the Lightning, without injured goaltender Ben Bishop, to fold.
Lindback, though, Tampa Bay's little-used backup, chooses to ignore the naysayers.
"I play for myself and my teammates," Lindback said. "That's the most pressure I can get from anyone. It's as simple as that."
Lindback was simply superb again Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum with 34 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Flyers, an important win in the Lightning's quest for home-ice advantage in its first-round playoff matchup with the Canadiens.
To get that advantage, Tampa Bay must pass Montreal in the Atlantic Division standings. The Lightning (44-27-9) trails by a point, 98-97, but can earn home ice with 101 points if it wins its final two games. Montreal, a 2-0 loser to the Islanders on Thursday and with one game left, can reach only 100.
"That's what we've been striving for," Lindback said. "We know how big home ice is and how great our fans are."
The Lightning had to dig deep against the hard-skating Flyers, who had a 36-30 shot advantage.
Tyler Johnson's 24th goal set a team rookie mark. Richard Panik scored his first goal since Dec. 19 for a 2-1 lead 4:33 into the third period. And Eric Brewer's second goal of the season made it 3-1 at 9:43.
It was 3-2 with 7:38 left when Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat scored one for the Flyers by inadvertently deflecting in Sean Couturier's flip backhand. But Steven Stamkos' 25th goal, on the power play with 5:46 left, re-established the two-goal cushion.
There also was this: defenseman Radko Gudas, with Lindback down and out of position, manning the goal line and taking Adam Hall's backhander off his chest to preserve the 3-1 lead with 8:43 left in the third.
"Did he save that with his beard?" Johnson said.
"Guys want to win. They're competing. They're battling," coach Jon Cooper said. "Guys are roping shots, diving in front of them. That's a big reason we're a playoff team this year."
But the bottom line was Lindback, who is 7-12-2 in 22 games but has stopped 59 of 61 shots in two wins since he took over for Bishop on Tuesday against Toronto.
His desperation glove save on Philadelphia's Tye McGinn in the first period brought a huge cheer from the announced sellout crowd of 19,204. His save on Hall's shorthanded breakaway in the second got him a standing ovation.
"Even though I've struggled, I've always trusted myself," Lindback said. "But this is only two games. It's nothing to hang my hat on. The upcoming here, that's what's really going to matter."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Johnson 24 (Stamkos, Kostka), 2:00. Penalties—Kucherov, TB (hooking), 3:51.
Second Period—2, Philadelphia, Simmonds 27 (Giroux, Voracek), 18:39 (pp). Penalties—Hartnell, Phi (interference), 4:32; MacDonald, Phi (interference), 12:47; Johnson, TB (tripping), 18:11.
Third Period—3, Tampa Bay, Panik 3 (Hedman, Kostka), 4:33. 4, Tampa Bay, Brewer 2 (Johnson, Palat), 9:43. 5, Philadelphia, Couturier 12 (Streit), 12:22. 6, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 25 (Filppula, Hedman), 14:14 (pp). Penalties—Sustr, TB (interference), :35; Hartnell, Phi (holding), 13:19. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 12-15-9—36. Tampa Bay 10-11-9—30. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 3. Goalies—Philadelphia, Emery 8-12-2 (30 shots-26 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 7-12-2 (36-34). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:25.