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Flyers look to solve Lightning at Tampa Bay

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- Even though the teams have secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, don't expect the Tampa Bay Lightning or Philadelphia Flyers to slack off Thursday.

They have a lot to play for, and they know it.

"I like it," Flyers coach Craig Berube said about meaningful games at this point. "We know there is something on the line, and we talked about it yesterday and again today. Home-ice advantage is important."

The Lightning have been a tough team for the Flyers, and Tampa Bay Times Forum has been a tough building for them. They are 0-2-0 against Tampa Bay this season and have gone 0-6-1 here since the 2010-11 season, but Berube's plan to reverse that trend is a simple one.

"Play better," he said. "We have to play a good game because they are a good team. We need a checking mindset against this team."

Goalie Anders Lindback takes over for injured Ben Bishop for Tampa Bay. Bishop is out for at least the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury sustained early in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis was recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League as the backup, and it is possible the rookie will see his first NHL action before the season ends.

"He's a prospect of ours and at some point here he's going to have to get into a game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It won't be tonight, but it might be in the next two [games]. It's a good story because he'll have played in quite a number of leagues in one calendar year."

Gudlevskis began the season with the Florida Everblades in the ECHL before moving up to Syracuse. He also played for Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Tampa Bay will get one defenseman back on the ice Thursday but will lose another. Michael Kostka was cleared to play but Sami Salo will sit out with an upper-body injury.

Kostka sustained a concussion April 1 against the Montreal Canadiens and has missed three games. It was thought he could be out for a longer period.

"Going in to it you try to not put a timetable [on returning] because you really don't know the severity of it, but if I were to guess how long I'd be out I would have guessed longer than this," Kostka said. "It's a pleasant surprise."

Cooper said Salo is day-to-day but is expected back soon.

"The long-term prognosis is that he's fine," Cooper said. "I hope we don't have to sit him out the last few games; I don't think we will, but we'll talk to Sami. He's a big part of our team and I wouldn't want last Tuesday's game to be his last before the playoffs, but we'll see."

The Lightning, three points behind the Canadiens for home ice in the first round, are motivated to close the gap.

"Our focus is trying to catch Montreal," Cooper said. "We are sewed up to play them in the first round, but our main focus is to get home ice. I want to be in Tampa a week from today, not in Montreal."

Cooper is not planning on resting his regulars or cutting back on their ice time.

"Taking your foot off the pedal, I don't like that feel," Cooper said. "All of a sudden you're going in not respecting your opponent. I don't want to have it and I don't want our players to have it. You have to play to win, and that's what we're going to do."

Here are the projected lineups:


Scott HartnellClaude GirouxJakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn – Michael Raffi – Wayne Simmonds

Matt ReadSean CouturierSteve Downie

Adam HallVincent LecavalierTye McGinn

Mark StreitNicklas Grossmann

Braydon CoburnKimmo Timonen

Andrew MacDonaldLuke Schenn

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: Erik Gustafsson, Jay Rosehill, Hal Gill, Zac Rinaldo (suspended)


Ondrej PalatTyler JohnsonSteven Stamkos

Alex KillornValtteri FilppulaRyan Callahan

J.T. BrownTom PyattNikita Kucherov

Richard PanikNate ThompsonTeddy Purcell

Victor HedmanRadko Gudas

Eric BrewerMichael Kostka

Matthew CarleAndrej Sustr

Anders Lindback

Kristers Gudlevskis

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio, Ryan Malone, B.J. Crombeen, Cody Kunyk

Injured: Ben Bishop (upper body), Sami Salo (upper body)

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