|There’s an outside chance Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who has been sidelined all four games against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a blood clot in his left foot, may return for Game 5 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
“I’m going to skate (Friday morning),” Timonen confirmed. “I met the doctor today and we took another ultrasound. Based on that, the doctor said I have a green light to give it a try, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to skate and see how it feels. The doctor feels that there is no chance the clot is going to get loose or break up or anything like that, so that’s a great sign. A week ago, they were afraid it was going to get bigger and cut loose but I’ve been on blood thinners for eight days now and we’ll see how it goes.”
Timonen is hopeful he can join his teammates for Sunday’s Game 5 against the Penguins. Pittsburgh leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.
“If I feel tomorrow that I’m good to go for Sunday, then I’m good for Sunday,” the All-Star defenseman said. “There is nothing to prevent me from playing. I may have numbness in my toes, but if I can deal with that, then I can play. We’ll see how it goes (Friday). I just want to make sure I can help and not hurt the team.”
“I think there is a chance either or both could return,” Stevens said. “The first thing is you have to make sure of the health of the player, and we’re not going to put anybody at risk. If they’re not able to go, we’ll keep marching ahead like we are. But, if we’re able to get one or both back, it would be a huge lift for our team.”
— Mike G. Morreale
Kimmo makes an appearance — Timonen didn't play in Game 4, but he did make a contribution. The injured defenseman read off the starting lineup in the dressing room before the game.
"It was nice to see him," forward Joffrey Lupul said. "Kind of brought in a little bit of levity. Sometimes you're a little nervous before a big game like that. Kimmo came in and he was joking around a little bit."
Timonen and Simon Gagne, who hasn't played since February due to post-concussion syndrome, have been regulars in the locker room during the playoff run, doing what they can to help their teammates.
"You could see how much he wants to be out there; same with Simon Gagne,” Lupul said of Timonen. “It's a chance of a lifetime and those guys are out right now, so you really feel for them. It's nice to have them around."
— Adam Kimelman
Quick change — In search of some extra speed with his team trailing 3-0 in the third period, Penguins coach Michel Therrien juggled his third and fourth lines by shifting Maxime Talbot up to play with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
The result was two goals by Staal that made things interesting late in the game until Lupul shot the puck into the empty net with 32.3 seconds left to wrap up a 4-2 win.
“I was figuring that they had a hard time handling the speed,” Therrien said. “Sometimes when you use speed and you’re always first on the puck you could draw a penalty. We didn’t draw a penalty, but because they were disciplined. In the meantime, we scored two goals.”
Talbot said he was excited to get the chance to play some extra minutes.
“We just battled,” Talbot said. “It’s three guys that can work the corners. I was happy to get out there a little bit more and create some offense, and Jordan played unreal tonight.”
— Dan Rosen
Biron back in form — Martin Biron, who entered Game 4 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .908 save percentage, appeared sharp from the outset. The 30-year-old made two huge saves in the opening five minutes of the game to set the tone for his teammates.
The first was a nifty kick save with his right leg off a left-circle wrister by Evgeni Malkin 3:52 into the game. He then turned away Petr Sykora off another attempt from the left circle about 30 seconds later. Those saves became even bigger when Lupul gave the Flyers only their second lead of this series when his slap shot ticked off defenseman Hal Gill’s stick and went past Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:27.
Biron stopped all 25 shots he faced in the first two periods and turned aside 11 of the 13 shots he faced in the third, including a missile off the stick of Sidney Crosby from between the circles with 12:45 remaining.
“Marty was solid,” Stevens said. “He looked like he was really sharp seeing the puck. He looked like he read things like he had previously and was really confident. We knew we were going to need him to be good and he was.”
Biron felt confident in net.
“When you get a start to the game like (Thursday) night, for a goalie, where you see a bunch of shots early on, you give your team a chance to go on the attack afterwards and get a bit of a lead,” said Biron, who stopped all 13 shots faced in the opening 20 minutes.
“We know they’ve got offensive power and we know they can come up and score goals at any time. To have played the way we played in the first period (in taking a 3-0 lead) really gave us a cushion a little bit.”
— Mike G. Morreale
Geno struggling — Malkin has only one assist and no goals in the last three games, and Therrien said it’s because the Flyers have checked him well.
“You’ve got to give credit to the Flyers,” Therrien said. “Sometimes it’s tough to dominate like the way he can dominate. They did a great job against him.”
Malkin scored twice on four shots in Game 1, but has been limited to only seven shots on goal in Games 2-4. He also has struggled in the faceoff circle, winning only 13 of 37 for a 35 percent success rate. He also had four giveaways Thursday night.
— Dan Rosen
Fleury responds — Despite giving up two goals on the first six shots and three in the first period, Fleury still gave his team a chance to win in the end by playing well over the final 40 minutes.
Fleury stopped all 16 shots he faced over the last two periods. It helped that his team started playing strong and disciplined in front of him after yielding 17 shots in the first period and giving up three power plays in the first period alone.
Philadelphia got only one more chance on the power play the rest of the game.
“We’ve been through this in the playoffs before,” Fleury said. “I knew that if I can keep the team in the game, make some key saves, that we had a chance to come back. I started to do good and we kept it close.”
— Dan Rosen
Power outage — Completely unsolicited, Therrien made a point of referencing how disciplined the Flyers have been and how the fact that they gave up three power-play chances Thursday and two in Game 3 Tuesday should be an encouraging sign for them.
“I’ve got to tell you something, since they complained about the penalties after the second game, we’ll, they’re disciplined,” Therrien said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to that team because we don’t have a power play. They’re disciplined.”
— Dan Rosen