PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Not only did the Philadelphia Flyers stay alive Thursday night, they got good news on the status of injured defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn.
Philadelphia's top defense pair could be reunited as early as Sunday for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Pittsburgh.
Coburn seemed close to returning Thursday night for the Flyers' 4-2 home win, but needed more time to heal from facial injuries that caused his left eye to swell shut. The bigger surprise would be Timonen, who was expected to miss at least this series and likely the rest of the season.
Timonen went on the injured list on the eve of this series after tests revealed a blood clot on his left ankle, resulting from a blocked shot in the previous round against Montreal. He will skate on Friday, and if all goes well, will be back in the lineup when the Flyers try to extend their season again.
"If I feel (Friday) that I'm good to go for Sunday, then I'm good for Sunday," Timonen said after Thursday's win. "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 took another ultrasound, and based on that the doctor said I have a green light to give it a try. The doctor feels that there is no chance the clot is going to get loose or break up or anything like that. It's a great sign. A week ago they were afraid it was going to get bigger and cut loose."
Coburn was struck in the face by a puck in the opening minutes of Game 2 last Sunday and has missed two games. He didn't break any bones, but severe swelling forced his left eye to close. He was able to practice Wednesday and hoped to play in Game 4.
Now the target date is Sunday.
"Is there a chance? I think there is, either or both," coach John Stevens said. "The first thing is you have to make sure of the health of the player here, 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."