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Kovalev says he's OK to play after taking shot on right ankle

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MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens scoring leader Alex Kovalev said Saturday he is ready to play despite a sore right ankle.

"I feel pretty good, I'll say good enough to play," he said after an on-ice workout before the Canadiens game Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Canadiens will also have defenceman Roman Hamrlik back after missing a week with a virus and a mystery rash. But coach Guy Carbonneau said he would make a game-time decision on defenceman Josh Gorges, who is recovering from the flu.

Carbonneau also cautioned that Kovalev's status depends on whether his ankle swells up again.

Kovalev was hit on the ankle by a shot early in a 2-1 victory Thursday night in Florida. He stayed in the game and scored in overtime, but was limping and missed practice the next day.

"When you get hit in the foot, as long as you keep the skate on so it doesn't get swollen, you're fine," Kovalev said. "That's what I did.

"It's a good thing that today they make good skates, so there was good support for the ankle. But the next morning, I couldn't step on it."

Hamrlik didn't take part in the morning skate at the Bell Centre, but Carbonneau said he will play.

"When he goes on the ice to practise the rash gets activated a bit, so we didn't want him to go twice on the ice in one day," the coach said.

The Flyers will be without veteran defenceman Derian Hatcher for a second game due to an inflammation of the right knee. But coach John Stevens said game-time decisions would be made on whether defenceman Braydon Coburn and forward Scottie Upshall will return from injuries.

Coburn suffered a ruptured artery in his left buttocks in a loss last Saturday to the New York Rangers. Even Coburn is uncertain how it happened.

"I'm back on my feet skating, so it could have been a lot worse," the Calgary native said. "Thankfully, we did the right thing and I got on the road to recovery really quick.

"There were three or four nights when I had to lie on my side or my stomach. That was the most annoying thing. You almost feel like you're going to get bed sores on one side just from laying around all day."

Upshall has a sprained right knee that he says likely won't be completely healed until the summer.

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