The Tampa Bay Lightning have earned themselves an edge with a huge 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bolts can capture home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They just have to win out.
They host Columbus tonight and end the regular season Sunday in Washington.
"To have the ability to win out and get home ice, that's what you want," Steven Stamkos said. "You want to play meaningful games down the stretch. Obviously, we were proud to get into the playoffs, but it would be icing on the cake to get home ice. It's in our hands."
The Lightning are a point back of the Montreal Canadians in the Atlantic Division with two games to play. The Canadians have just one game left on Saturday against the New York Rangers.
The Lightning have stepped up their game since goalie Ben Bishop went down with an elbow injury on Tuesday. They've won two straight games. The Lightning turned a 1-1 game against the Flyers into a runaway with three third-period goals.
Anders Lindback played solid in net, turning away 34 shots by the Flyers. This is exactly what the Lightning need to strengthen their confidence heading into the playoffs.
The victory moves the Lightning close to earning home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They are locked in to play Montreal either way.
But how much of an advantage is having a higher seed in postseason? A lot.
Of the last 19 Stanley Cup champions, only two teams seeded lower than fourth have won it all -- the Devils (5th seed - 1995) and Kings (8th seed - 2012). No sixth or seventh seed has won the cup.
"The biggest thing with your seedings is the home ice advantage," said Ryan Callahan. "There have been seeds that have made runs at it and that's the beauty of the NHL playoffs. So, if you get in, you have a chance. Being a higher seed you definitely try to go for during the season."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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