|The Flyers' Braydon Coburn left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals early after being struck in the face with a puck. Braydon Coburn highlights|
Two days after getting hit in the face less than two minutes into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Coburn attended the Philadelphia Flyers' pre-game skate, rode the exercise bike and chatted with teammates.
Coburn pulled a baseball cap down low on his face, but the scar that runs like a question mark around his left eye was obvious. Also, his left eye is completely swollen shut.
"I feel fine," the Flyers defenseman said. "My eye is swollen shut, so that makes it hard to do things, but besides that I feel all right."
Coburn has been ruled out for Game 3 Tuesday, and is doubtful for Game 4 on Thursday. With no broken bones or a concussion, the determining factor is whether the swelling around his eye goes down enough to allow him to see.
"I think as soon as my eye opens up, they'll re-evaluate, but my self-prognosis is as soon as it opens up, I want to play," Coburn said.
After the gruesome injury, teammates are just happy to see Coburn walking around.
"It's nice to see that nothing severe has happened," Mike Richards said. "Right when it happened, you couldn't help but think of the worst. Being right there, seeing the blood, it's a shock to you. Knowing that he's going to be all right, seeing him around, gives you a little more motivation."
Despite the injury, Coburn hasn't lost his sense of humor.
When asked if wearing a visor would have prevented the injury – Coburn doesn't wear one – he replied, "If I had ducked that would have prevented the injury, too."
Coburn did say he would wear a visor when he returned.
Re-lighting the fire – For the Flyers to climb back into this series, their top line of Danny Briere, Vaclav Prospal and Scott Hartnell has to get on the score sheet.
Through the first two games in Pittsburgh, the trio was held scoreless and was a combined minus-7.
"We're just not jelling at the right moments," Hartnell said. "We have a burst here and there, a shift here and there, but we need to be more consistent as a line, and that will filter through the whole team. It's up to us to get some points on the board, get some goals and get a win here."
Prospal especially seems worn down. He hasn't scored a goal since Game 5 of the Flyers' first-round series against Washington, and in his last nine playoff games, he has just four assists and a minus-7 rating.
"Give them credit, they're a good team, they played well at home," Prospal said. "The bad part is on us, we didn't create enough. For us to create chances, we have to spend some more time in the offensive zone, and we haven't done that in the last two games."
Stevens said he had no thoughts of splitting up the threesome, which has been together pretty much since Prospal arrived in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb. 25.
"I think as a coach you look at all situations, but to me that line has at times had a lot of success," he said. "The ingredients are there, it's in the hand of the players right now. We need Vinny to step up and be a good player for us. The good thing about Vinny is he takes responsibility for his play. He knows he can do more. I would expect a big game out of that line tonight."
Parent ready to roll – Ryan Parent will see his first playoff action since Game 1 of the Flyers' first-round series with the Washington Capitals.
Parent is no stranger to big games, including winning a pair of gold medals for Canada at two World Junior Championships.
"We're fully confident Ryan can come in and play well," coach John Stevens said. "He's an excellent defender. He's a guy that has the skill set that can come in and help us right now."
Even though this will be his first game in a month, Parent said he wasn't worried about being rusty.
"It's tough being out of the game for a while, but we're working hard in practice in case something like this happens, so you're ready to go," he said.
Stevens said Parent will start the game paired with Jason Smith.
Modry happy to return to the ice – Flyers defenseman Jaroslav Modry, who missed the previous seven playoff games prior the Pittsburgh series while laying his father to rest in his native Czech Republic, is glad to be playing hockey again.
Modry, a veteran of 13 seasons, always has felt the camaraderie in the dressing room and believed being on the ice was the most effective therapy for him. His father's death earlier last month came after a year-long battle with colon cancer.
"I was a mess at the time, and looking back now, so many things were going through my mind, it was very difficult to concentrate," Modry said. "Everybody goes through life having lost someone very close and, despite that, I still was able to communicate with him until his death."
After spending time with his family overseas, Modry feels now is the time to move on.
"When I went home, I attended the funeral and said my goodbyes and kind of closed the chapter," he said. "Now I just need to focus on the future. I'm always going to carry him in my heart and I know he's in a special place. Playing hockey is what I love to do and while I did miss some games, I'm a veteran and know what I have to do on the ice to help our team."
Modry, who has two assists in seven playoff games, logged 20:28 of ice time in the Flyers' 4-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2 on Sunday. Fellow defenseman Lasse Kukkonen feels Modry hasn't missed a beat.
"Jaro's jumped right in and has been playing great and I haven't seen any difference in his play even though he was out of the lineup for a while," Kukkonen said. "He's looked just as sharp."
--Mike G. Morreale
"I think the officials have done a commendable job in this series," he said. "There are some questionable calls all the time throughout the course of a game, but usually they all even out. Personally, I have no issues with the referees. The bottom line is we're 0-2 right now and haven't played very well."
Whether his team agrees or disagrees with the calls, Stevens knows his team must just deal with situation.
"I think we've done a good job moving our feet and not getting involved in scrums and taking unnecessary penalties," Stevens said. "There are going to be calls. The game happens quickly and you're not always going to agree with the call, but you just have to deal with them. I think on the other side of the puck, we have to move our feet more, be more determined when we have the puck and either create scoring chances and draw penalties on our own."
The Penguins are 2-for-8 with the man advantage in the series, while the Flyers have connected once in six opportunities.
"Every game brings some sort of frustration because you work so hard and you play hard and sometimes things are not going your way," Flyers goalie Martin Biron said. "We're the Flyers, and that's going to happen, but you have to be able to play with that. You have to be able to stay focused on what the goal is and the goal is to be able to stay disciplined with your own emotion and intensity in the game."
Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien feels penalties are magnified in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"There are times you're going to get a call and times you're not," he said. "You can't complain about it, but just move on and play the game. You hope to get the calls but it just doesn't happen all the time. What are you going to do?"
--Mike G. Morreale
Rattling Fleury – Richards and Briere of the Flyers feel their team needs to generate more traffic in front of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in order to match the offensive success they experienced in the previous two rounds of the playoffs.
|Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers feels that his team needs to generate more traffic in front of the net, in order to score against Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
"I thought Price played well for Montreal and Huet was good for Washington as well, but we were able to get more traffic in front on them and that helped," Richards said. "(Fleury's) been solid but we need to get more bodies in front in order to have more success."
"It seems when we do get in front of him and make it difficult, we are getting great scoring chances," he said. "But we really haven't been doing it enough. Hopefully, we can change that."
In order to consistently gain position in the slot, Stevens feels his team needs better puck possession through the neutral zone.
"When we've gotten in front, we've had good chances and have scored some goals," Stevens said. "I sound like a broken record here, but we need to do more with the hockey puck in moving through the neutral zone in order to spend a little more time in the offensive zone. When you don't manage the puck, you don't spend enough time on offense and that's the one area we need to improve. You can't just look at us, though, since their forwards do a lot of work and have been very responsible so it's up to us to get our feet moving and get to the net."
--Mike G. Morreale
Home-ice advantage – It's not just having the last change that the Flyers believe will help them Tuesday night. It's having a loud, rowdy seventh man – nearly 20,000 of them, actually.
"We've played well (at home) in the first two series and hopefully that can happen again against Pittsburgh," said Briere. "It's one of the toughest buildings to play in. I've been on the other side and it was tough coming in here. Hopefully we can feed off that energy the crowd is going to give us tonight."
Briere said the team was going to get an adrenaline kick from being at home, but they know they can't get too amped up.
"This whole series you have to be careful, you have to watch your emotion, not get carried away and cross the line to give them a power play that can turn the game or the series around," he said. "Same at the beginning of the game. Pittsburgh did a very good job in their building at feeding off the crowd without crossing the line, and we need to do the same thing."