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Hedman's two goals lead Lightning past Flyers

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning improved one of the NHL's best home records Wednesday night, holding on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 after taking a shutout into the final two minutes.

The Lightning (16-8-1), building off a 5-0 win against the New York Rangers on Monday night, won their seventh straight at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Backup goaltender Anders Lindback, who came in with a 1-5 record, nearly finished with a shutout before giving up two goals in the closing minutes.

"You've got to learn from that. It's not over, anytime," Lindback said. "You really have to be able to manage that. We pulled it out. It's a win, and I think we played overall good."

Philadelphia (10-12-2) was 6-1-1 in its last eight coming in, bouncing back well from a 1-7 start to the season. The Flyers' goal came with 1:53 left in the final period on a power-play shot by center Vinny Lecavalier, making his first return to Tampa, where he played from 1998-2013. With 1:13 left, the Flyers followed with a goal from defenseman Mark Streit, his first this season, that made it 3-2.

Down just one goal, the Flyers pulled their goalie in the final minute but couldn't get the tying goal, missing once before seeing Lightning center Tyler Johnson break away and score on an empty net with 33 seconds left.

"It was very weird stepping on the ice," Lecavalier said of his first game back in Tampa. "Obviously we didn't win, and I'm disappointed with that. But I had a great experience, just skating on the ice, all the fans were supportive of me. That definitely means a lot."

Tampa Bay's scoring came from an unlikely place, with 6-foot-6 defenseman Victor Hedman scoring two goals while adding an assist for a hand in the first three goals.

"He was the best player on the ice, no question," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He'd be 200 feet from the other team's net, making an unbelievable defensive play, then all the sudden you'd see him on 2-on-1 and he beat everybody up ice. ... He had jump, he was engaged, and when he's like that, he puts himself in the upper echelon of defensemen."

The Lightning struck for two goals in a span of three minutes in the second period. Hedman scored on a sharp-angle shot nearly from the red line, sending the puck past Flyers goalie Ray Emery for a 1-0 lead with 10:45 to go.

The Lightning followed three minutes later with a rare short-handed goal, as a Hedman miss rebounded to Czech left winger Ondrej Palat, who got his fourth goal of the season for a 2-0 lead with 7:47 left in the period.

Hedman struck again in the third on a 5-on-3 power play for his second career two-goal game -- he did so Feb. 12 against Montreal -- and the two goals gave him six this season, resetting the 22-year-old's career high in five years in the NHL.

"You have to keep plugging away -- that's the biggest thing for me," Hedman said. "Keep believing in myself and have the confidence to play hockey ... just keep playing and things are going to come."

The Lightning wrap up a three-game home stand Friday against Pittsburgh, while Philadelphia returns home to face Winnipeg on Friday.

NOTES: C Vincent Lecavalier returned to Tampa for the first time since joining the Flyers in the offseason after the Lightning bought out the remaining years on his contract. He was honored on the team's video boards as a Community Hero for his work with local charities, especially with children's hospitals. Lecavalier played in Tampa from 1998-2013. ... The Lightning are much improved with short-handed goals this season, as LW Ondrej Palat's in the second period Wednesday was the team's third. Tampa Bay came into the game tied for ninth in the league in short-handed goals, and this came after the team scored zero in 48 games last season. ... Tampa Bay put LW Ryan Malone on injured reserve Wednesday after he suffered a foot injury. The Lightning recalled F Dana Tyrell, 24, from Syracuse of the AHL. Tyrell, who had seven goals in stints with Tampa Bay over the past three seasons, had three goals in 16 games with Syracuse before the promotion. ... Philadelphia entered the game 0-for-2 on penalty shots this season, including a miss by RW Wayne Simmonds on Oct. 2 against Toronto. The Lightning had only one penalty shot against them coming in, with G Anders Lindback giving up a goal to Boston on Oct. 3.

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