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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 6:54 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flyers and Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Everyone will be watching Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who will look to extend his shutout streak beyond the 196:13 he carries with him into Thursday's game here against the New York Islanders.

Bryzgalov is just 31:27 shy of John Vanbiesbrouck's Flyers record of 227:40, set in October 1999.

One player standing in his way will be Islanders forward P.A. Parenteau, who returns after missing Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups both teams will use when the puck drops here at Nassau Coliseum:

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr

Eric Wellwood - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Sean Couturier - Maxime Talbot - Zac Rinaldo

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann

Matt Carle - Kimmo Timonen

Erik Gustafsson - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov will be in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky the backup. Bryzgalov tied Vanbiesbrouck's club record with his third straight shutout in his last start, a 17-save, 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - P.A. Parenteau

David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Nino Niederreiter

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Jay Pandolfo

Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald

Mark Streit - Steve Staios

Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Evgeni Nabokov will start in goal, with Al Montoya as the backup.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 1:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Devils' lineup will be game-time decision

Devils coach Peter DeBoer told The (Bergen) Record he hadn't decided on his lineup for the game Tuesday, and that all 13 forwards would skate in the pre-game warm-ups.
 
That means Steve Bernier, a healthy scratch Sunday when the teams played at the Prudential Center, could get back in the lineup.
 
"We're dealing with some bumps and bruises and we'll see," DeBoer said following the team's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center.
 
However, DeBoer also could opt to keep Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen in the lineup to match the Flyers' physicality. He liked the way that part of the game went in a 4-1 win Sunday. He said he expects to see an equally as physical game Tuesday.
 
"They always do," DeBoer said of the Flyers playing physical. "They're at home and that's what they do. We expect that."
 
Here's the projected lineup the Devils for tonight:
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus - Petr Sykora
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier/Cam Janssen
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Marek Zidlicky - Anton Volchenkov
Adam Larsson - Bryce Salvador
 
Martin Brodeur will be in goal, with Johan Hedberg the backup.

Defenseman Matt Taormina will be a healthy scratch.
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 1:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Brodeur ends streak of Hedberg starts in Philly

Martin Brodeur has made a career of beating the Flyers -- he has 45 wins in 82 regular-season starts against them, with nine shutouts. However, when he stars against them at Wells Fargo Center tonight, it will be his first regular-season start in Philadelphia in nearly two years -- March 28, 2010, when he suffered a 5-1 loss.

Backup Johan Hedberg started all six games against the Flyers last season, and then started the teams' first two games this season in Philadelphia.

Brodeur said following the team's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center that playing in Philadelphia wasn't all that much of a big deal to him.

"I've played my share of games here," he told The (Bergen) Record.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brodeur is 16-16-2 with three ties in 37 regular-season starts at the building known as Wells Fargo Center, which opened in 1996, with a 2.68 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and four shutouts.

Coach Peter DeBoer said the arena his team is playing in has no bearing on who he chooses as his starter.

"We’ll take into account previous records against teams and things like that," he told The (Bergen) Record. "That all goes into the pot when you're making those calls, but the building usually doesn't come up."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK



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Posted On Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 12:35 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Wellwood's play warrants promotion to scoring line

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers center Eric Wellwood had a great chance to help his team's chances Monday night when he had dinner with his best friend, Devils center Adam Henrique.

The two were teammates for four seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires and won a pair of Memorial Cups together on a juggernaut team that included Oilers forward Taylor Hall, Canucks forward Zack Kassian and Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, among others. So when they had a chance to catch up prior to the teams playing Tuesday, the pair had dinner at Wellwood's apartment.

"We got to hang out last night. He came over to my place," Wellwood said. When asked what he cooked, he said he didn't and then realized his missed opportunity -- "I should have poisoned him, actually."

Wellwood obviously was joking, and said he's not surprised his friend is among the front-runners for this year's Calder Trophy.

"He got a lot of points, but he never was Taylor Hall or Ryan Ellis in junior," Wellwood said. "Those guys are obviously good players in the NHL as well … but playing with him you knew he was good."

Wellwood also has shown his skills in his time with the Flyers. He has 2 goals in five games in his most recent promotion from AHL Adirondack, and he earned another promotion at Tuesday's morning skate -- from center on the fourth line to second-line left wing, playing with Danny Briere and Jakub Voracek.

Wellwood, regarded by some as the fastest skater on the team, said the shift to the wing will allow him to use his speed more.

"I think I can be more aggressive on the forecheck," he said. "When you're at center you sit back a little bit more, you just watch the play develop, because you don't want to get caught defensively, because that's your major responsibly -- especially if you're playing on the fourth line. I think my game will change a bit. I'll be a lot faster, and I'll be on the forecheck more. I'll try to get them the puck as best as I can.

"I think I'm going to be the one to create them space. I think if I get in on the forecheck and get the puck, and do a lot of the dirty work, that will help them out a lot. It seems like a good line. I think we've got a lot of good things going."

Coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't commit to that line sticking together for Tuesday's game, but said he's been very pleased with what he's seen from Wellwood so far.

"I've liked Wellwood's game, he's been terrific," Laviolette said. "He brings a lot of speed. You go back and you watch the game over and he's always around there doing something -- he's breaking up a forecheck or he's driving the net or he's killing a big penalty. His speed is a real asset. He's a real smart player. He's been real good.

"Every time he's put a uniform on up here, he's impressed people. Whether it's exhibition games or call-ups, whenever it might be, he's been an impressive player."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 12:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Voracek also set to return to Flyers' lineup

VOORHEES, N.J. -- One week after absorbing a scary hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwall, Flyers forward Jakub Voracek says he will be back in the Flyers' lineup when his team hosts the New Jersey Devils.

He missed three games with a concussion, and said he's happy to be back after so short an absence.

"It wasn't great to sit out three games, but there was nothing I could do about it," he said after the morning skate. "I think after the hit I'm pretty happy I'm back in a week. Hopefully we're going to get a win and get it rolling again."

He skated at right wing on a line centered by Danny Briere, with rookie Eric Wellwood at left wing.

Here's the rest of the Flyers' lineup, based on their morning skate:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Eric Wellwood - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Andreas Lilja - Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky the backup.

Pavel Kubina, who has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, skated with the team at the morning skate, but will not play. Rookie defenseman Brandon Manning and veteran forward Jody Shelley will be healthy scratches.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK



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Posted On Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 11:55 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flyers get Timonen back after five-game absence

VOORHEES, N.J. -- After a five-game absence, Philadelphia Flyers All-Star defenseman Kimmo Timonen will be back on the ice when his team hosts the New Jersey Devils.

Timonen has been out with a lower-body injury, but told reporters following the Flyers' morning skate that he was "95-percent sure" he was playing.

Timonen wouldn't specify the exact nature of his injury, but said he's hoping his time off will be enough to sustain him through the rest of the season and the playoffs.

"It's one of those things that I don't think it's going to go away, but hopefully this lasts," he said. "We'll see. … We go game-by-game and day-by-day and see how it feels."

Timonen, who had played in 248 consecutive regular-season games prior to sitting out, said he enjoyed the time off.

"Mentally it's been great," he said. "I've played a lot of hockey the last four years. The last 10 days I didn't do much. Mentally it's been really good, and hopefully it carries over to rest of the year and the playoffs."

Now, though, he knows rest time is over, and he's excited to get back into the lineup.

"It's a tough thing, you don't want to miss games," he said. "I played 3 1/2 years not missing any games, so it was tough. I knew it was going to happen (but) I'm excited to be back. Hopefully I can help the team."

The Flyers have been without Timonen, as well as fellow veterans Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina. Rookies Erik Gustafsson and Brandon Manning have done solid jobs filling in, but with the return of one of their injured veteran blueliners -- Meszaros (lower body) and Kubina (upper body) remain out -- the Flyers should be a bit more composed in their back end.

"Kimmo is the same as Prongs (Chris Pronger)," Matt Carle, who was paired with Timonen at Tuesday's practice, told NHL.com. "They've been around so long, you just expect them to be in the right place and make the right plays because they've been doing it so long. No matter how much time they've missed, you expect them to be great. When he's out there he's so sound as a player that you're not going to notice too much of a difference with him whether it's bad or good. He's an even-keeled player like that."

Timonen has 36 points and is tied for third among NHL defensemen with 34 assists, but it's his role off the ice as much on it that the Flyers missed. 

"He's looked up to on our team by a lot of guys," Carle said. "He's somebody who's been in the League a long time and somebody who's a leader."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:39 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kubina out, Manning in for Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- Defenseman Brandon Manning will become the sixth Flyers player to make his NHL debut this season when he plays Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Manning replaces Pavel Kubina, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Kubina played 20:17 on Tuesday against Detroit, but in the game before that, Sunday against the Capitals, he missed time after being hit in the face by a puck.

The Flyers already are missing veteran defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros indefinitely due to lower-body injuries.

Kubina has two assists in seven games since the Flyers acquired him from the Tampa Bay Lightning last month.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Laviolette looks for some privacy

PHILADELPHIA -- For the last few seasons, the Flyers have held their morning skates here at the Wells Fargo Center, rather than their practice rink in nearby Voorhees, N.J. But with the Florida Panthers in town, coach Peter Laviolette opted to move the practice to Voorhees.

With a first-round playoff matchup against the Panthers a possibility, Laviolette wasn't interested in giving the opposition a free viewing.

"I think teams are watching," he said. "It's a chance to get over there, little more private."

If anyone from the Panthers made the trek across the Walt Whitman Bridge to New Jersey on Thursday, he wouldn't have seen much. Laviolette called the morning skate "casual," and said it was a chance to look at some new lines created due to injuries to forwards James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr. Van Riemsdyk and Voracek won't play Thursday against the Panthers, while Jagr is a game-time decision due to a hip injury.

"We have new lines, new power play, new combinations," said Laviolette. "Everything is new based on injuries. I want to make sure we get a chance to touch on things because of injuries."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 6:15 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Manning has an edge on and off the ice

PHILADELPHIA -- Brandon Manning isn't shy in admitting he's got a chip on his shoulder.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defenseman went undrafted by NHL teams, and finally earned a contract with the Flyers in November 2010.

Now in his first professional season, he's played well enough that he could make his NHL debut Thursday when the Flyers host the Florida Panthers.

"I think it's been the underdog story for me my entire career," Manning said. "It's something I've run with and I kind of rub it in people's faces, people who didn't think I could do it, or the teams that passed over me."

Manning spent four seasons with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League, and last season had 21 goals and 32 assists in just 53 games. He was tied for third among all WHL blueliners in goals, and tied for ninth with 53 points.

He had surgery in September to repair a labrum tear in his hip, which sidelined him until December, but he's done well since returning with 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 AHL games.

"It took me a while," Manning said of when he felt 100-percent healthy. "I missed a few games again in December. In mid-February I had a streak of about 10 games where I felt really good. I just have to make sure I'm taking care of myself and doing what I have to do every day. It's definitely come along the last month, month and a half, for sure."

If Manning plays, he'll be the 12th rookie to get into a game for the Flyers this season, and the sixth to make his NHL debut. Who comes out of the lineup, however, is a question. All six defenseman who played Tuesday against Detroit were on the ice for Wednesday's practice.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette makes a rule of not discussing his lineup, but he might have tipped his hand when asked about Manning prior to Thursday's game.

"I'm excited to see him play because there's been a lot of real positive comments coming from the minor-league team that he's done a really nice job," said Laviolette. "He's a good two-way defenseman, he plays with an edge, he hits, he fights. It'll be interesting to watch him play. Apparently he's done a nice job down there, coming off the injury, worked hard in the summer to get to a point that now he's back playing. It's a good reward for him to get a game in and show what he can do."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 4:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Voracek a no-go, Jagr game-time decision for Flyers

The story on Wednesday was Jaromir Jagr likely would not play Thursday against the Florida Panthers but there was a chance Jakub Voracek could.

A day later, however, the story has changed 180 degrees, with Voracek ruled out while Jagr remains a game-time decision.

Voracek was leveled by a hard hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwall in the second period of Tuesday's game. According to CSNPhilly.com, Voracek was under a concussion watch and still had to pass a baseline test in order to be cleared to play.

Jagr, who suffered a hip injury late in the second period of Tuesday's game, skated during Thursday's morning skate, and said his decision would come prior to game-time.

"I don't know anything right now," Jagr told reporters following practice. "I'll let you know later. I felt good. Better than I thought."

Jagr has missed games four times this season due to lower-body issues.

"When you are talking about players who have been dealing with minor bumps or bruises, there are always conversations to make good decisions," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of Jagr. "We'll make those decisions and put the lineup that is best."

That lineup could include forward Harry Zolnierczyk, who was recalled from AHL Adirondack. Zolnierczyk has 3 goals and 2 assists in 36 games this season. He last played in the NHL on Feb. 5.

The team also recalled defenseman Brandon Manning. If Manning plays Thursday, it would be his first NHL game. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 AHL games. He missed the first three months of the season recovering from hip surgery prior to training camp.

An undrafted free agent, Manning was signed by the Flyers in November 2010. He was an offensive-minded defenseman in four seasons with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League. He tied for third among WHL defensemen last season with 21 goals.

"I haven't seen a lot of him," Laviolette said. "He missed training camp. I haven't seen him up here yet and I don't get to see the guys in the minors that much. (He's) a good two-way defenseman who plays with some grit, plays with an edge."

The Flyers will be without defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros for a fourth straight game due to lower-body injuries, but all six defensemen who played Tuesday against Detroit appear to be healthy, so it's unclear where -- or if -- Manning fits into the lineup.

"It's kind of undecided right now," Manning said when asked if he was playing Thursday. "I'm just kind of waiting to hear how the other guys are doing and we'll go from there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK




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Quote of the Day

I don’t know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored. It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Steven Stamkos broke a long scoring drought and Tampa Bay's struggling power play scored four times in Game 2 at Montreal