-- With Chris Pronger
out with a hand injury, the Philadelphia Flyers
are tinkering with defensemen.
Rookie Erik Gustafsson
will play the second game of his career and first since Feb. 26 on Thursday against the Thrashers while veteran Nick Boynton
, claimed off waivers from Chicago shortly before the trade deadline, will sit out. Boynton has only played in three games for the Flyers since arriving, all of them since Pronger missed his first game on March 10. Boynton played 11:24 in his first game with Philadelphia, 17:54 against Atlanta last Saturday in a game in which the Flyers lost 5-4 in overtime after taking a 3-0 lead into the third period, and only 5:39 in Tuesday's 3-2 win at Florida in which he was on ice for both of the Panthers' even-strength goals. He posted an even rating in the first two games.
Boynton, 32, had been playing on the third pair with Sean O'Donnell
, 39, and it's possible that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
was looking for a little more mobility on the backline with the 22-year-old Gustafsson, an undrafted player out of Northern Michigan who had five goals and 31 assists in 59 games for Adirondack of the AHL and only 10 penalty minutes.
"He's already been here once," Laviolette said of Gustafsson, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday after being called up. "I think we got a good idea of what type of player he is and right now at this point he's had a good year. He gets up here, he gets experience before the playoff happen."