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STEP CLOSER TO HOME ICE

The Lightning's win combined with a Canadiens loss boosts Tampa Bay's chances.

With the Lightning and Canadiens set to meet in the first round of the NHL playoffs, the only question is which team gets home ice.

For Tampa Bay to get it, it must pass Montreal in the Atlantic Division standings, and the Lightning on Thursday closed the gap to one point with a 4-2 victory over the Flyers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning (44-27-9) can guarantee home ice with 101 points if it wins its final two games. Montreal, with one game left, can at best get 100.

Eric Brewer's second goal of the season was the winner as it gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead 9:43 into the third period.

Richard Panik's second-effort, backhand goal 4:33 into the third broke a 1-1 tie. Tyler Johnson's first-period goal was his 24th to surpass Steven Stamkos' team rookie record.

And goaltender Anders Lindback was outstanding with 34 saves to stymie a hard-skating Philadelphia team that also is fighting for playoff position and had a 36-30 shot advantage.

It got dicey, though, as the Flyers cut their deficit to 3-2 with 7:38 left when Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat inadvertently deflected Sean Couturier's flip backhand past Lindback.

But Stamkos' power-play goal with 5:46 left re-established the two-goal cushion.

The first period was a good one for the Flyers. They pushed the pace and had a 12-10 shot advantage. But the Lightning earned a 1-0 lead on Johnson's goal and Lindback's strong effort.

Johnson struck 2:00 into the game on a one-timer slap shot from the left faceoff circle off a perfect cross-ice pass from, appropriately, Stamkos. Flyers goalie Ray Emery had no chance on the high shot.

After that, it was the Lindback show.

His best moment came with 7:53 left when, from his knees, he made a desperation glove save on Tye McGinn's shot that looked as if it would be a goal. He then stopped Vinny Lecavalier's backhand rebound try.

The Flyers in the second period had a 15-11 shot advantage. It also was another strong period for Lindback, who made 14 saves.

But Emery also was sharp. His best save was on Ryan Callahan's re-direct from in front of the net set up by Palat's stick-handling rush and pass.

On the same power play, after a giveaway by Matt Carle at the Flyers' blue line, Lindback stopped Adam Hall's breakaway backhand try.

Philadelphia finally broke through with 1:21 left in the period as Wayne Simmonds, untouched in front of the net, scored on a power play, squeaking the puck under Lindback's left arm for a 1-1 tie.

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