PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will be without forwards Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for Thursday's Game 5 against the New Jersey Devils -- and the foreseeable future.
"Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne will both have right foot surgery on Friday performed by Dr. Steve Raikin in Philadelphia to repair fractures," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said Wednesday. "Simon could return to action in three weeks. Jeff is out indefinitely
The Flyers take a 3-1 series lead back to Newark with a chance to close out the Devils Thursday at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, TSN).
Carter, who's right foot was encased in a boot, also was on crutches moving about the Flyers' training facility Wednesday afternoon.
"It's tough," Carter said. "It seems like I just got off (crutches). It's disappointing because I felt like I was just getting back into my groove and getting some jump in my game and a setback like this happens. It's tough, but it's hockey I guess."
Carter, who led the team in goals (33) during the regular season and connected for his first 2 playoff goals Tuesday, had missed eight games at the end of the regular season with a fractured left foot.
Carter admitted he was injured after being hit by a shot from the point by teammate Chris Pronger at the 9:28 mark of the third period. Carter then corralled the puck and scored with his team working a 5-on-3 advantage. Carter finished with a team-high five shots and equaled Danny Briere with 3 points in 15:25 of ice time in Game 4.
"It's an unexpected and disappointing bad luck sort of thing, but we can't do nothing about it except move on," Flyers captain Richards said. "We've been playing well, so hopefully we can continue momentum and kind of feed off of (Tuesday). It was disappointing to find out (about the injury.) I kind of had a sense (Tuesday) night about it talking to Jeff and obviously it's a disappointment right away. But we have to play the cards you're dealt and move on and we're looking forward to (Thursday) night."
Gagne, who had been part of one of the most productive and energetic lines in this series alongside Richards and Daniel Carcillo, was forced to leave Game 4 with 7:51 remaining in the second period after taking a Brian Rolston slap shot off his right ankle.
Gagne saw 16 shifts totaling 10:52 of ice time, including long stretches on the power-play and in penalty-killing situations. He had 2 assists in four games against the Devils.
Flyer coach Peter Laviolette confirmed following the team's optional workout Wednesday that Ville Leino will take one of the forward spots. He didn't tip his hand on who the other forward would be. A few of the Philadelphia reporters on hand speculated that it could be David Laliberte.
Leino was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings in February in exchange for defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a 2011 fifth-round draft choice. He played seven games during last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Wings, notching 2 assists. Leino played in 13 games with the Flyers during the regular season, producing 2 goals and 4 points. He had a goal and an assist against the Devils in a 5-1 victory on March 28.
"Everybody wants to play in the playoffs and it's tough to sit and watch but that's how it goes," Leino said. "Obviously, this is not the way you want to get into the lineup, but it's an opportunity for me. It was good game (against the Devils in the regular season) and I had some confidence out there. You can get in there and get the cycle going and create some scoring chances."
Laviolette feels the loss of two key players won't change the way his team views or prepares for Game 5 in New Jersey.
"You wish you had a healthy lineup, but they're not there so you have to make adjustments," Laviolette said. "We've been through this before with our goaltenders and other players. It's an opportunity for someone to step up or get more minutes. I don't want to dwell on a couple of guys who got banged up. I want to focus on the fact we're playing good hockey and have an opportunity to win in Jersey and close out a series. That's a real positive, so we have to focus on that. I still think we could play better and it could be a special game (Thursday night)."
"The resiliency of killing the penalties and just moving forward and not dwelling on what we can't control is something that I've liked in our team," Richards said. "I think our team is mentally strong and it's nice to see that everybody isn't looking for excuses and just playing through things. We know (New Jersey) will come out hard. They're a great hockey team with players who have been there before and you don't want to give a great team momentum they can build off. We want to establish our game plan and focus on our game."
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