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Lindros misses game with back spasms

The Lightning got a break before Sunday's game.

Philadelphia star Eric Lindros was hit in the back by a puck during the pregame skate. When he later took a shot, he felt something pop in his back. He left the ice, smashing his stick in disgust.

Lindros, who leads the team with 36 goals and is second in points with 73, could not play due to back spasms.

"It's nothing serious," he said. "It's just certain movements hurt."

Lindros has had problems with both knees in his two-year NHL career. He missed 14 games earlier this season with a knee injury. But he had never experienced back problems.

"It was a fluke, like tripping over a curb," Flyers spokesman Mark Piazza said.

The playoff picture

Here's a look at the remainder of the schedule for Tampa Bay and the teams it is battling for the playoffs:

Tampa Bay has 16 games remaining, seven at home (where the team is 12-19-4) and nine on the road (13-16-4). One of the home games (March 20 versus Washington) is in Orlando. The Lightning has two games left against the New York Islanders, one against Philadelphia and none against Florida.

Philadelphia has 18 games remaining, 11 at home (16-14-1) and seven on the road (14-17-4).

The Islanders have 20 games remaining, eight at home (18-13-3) and 12 on the road (9-17-4). One of the home games is at a neutral site.

Florida has 20 games left, 12 at home (11-15-4) and eight on the road (15-13-6). One of the home games is at a neutral site.

Odds and ends

The Lightning is 5-16-4 against Atlantic Division foes. The Lightning scratches were Roman Hamrlik and Petr Klima, both out with shoulder injuries, and Pat Elynuik (the lone non-injury scratch). Lightning rookie Chris Gratton will sign autographs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today at Zamboni Sports Cards, 2001 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater.

Rheaume update

Manon Rheaume has switched minor-league teams but remains undefeated _ 3-0-1 and coming off the biggest victory of her career. After being acquired by Nashville from the Knoxville Cherokees last week, she stopped 39 of 44 shots in a 6-5 overtime victory over her former teammates. Both teams are Lightning farm clubs in the East Coast Hockey League.

With the Cherokees, Rheaume was the third-string goalie, rarely seeing action and getting only one start for a 2-0-1 record. In Nashville, as the backup to Jamie Stewart, she expects more ice time.

_ CAMMY CLARK and TIMES WIRES

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