Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Flyers' Carter likely to return; Pronger out

Categories: Boston Bruins, PHI vs. BOS, Philadelphia Flyers

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Philly centre Jeff Carter has been out with a knee injury since Game 4 of the opening round. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) Philly centre Jeff Carter has been out with a knee injury since Game 4 of the opening round. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
By Tim Panaccio,

All signs seem to point to Jeff Carter coming back into the Flyers' lineup tonight for Game 3 against the Bruins on Wednesday night (CBC,, 7 p.m. ET).

Carter has not played since spraining his right knee in Game 4 of the Buffalo series. He has had just two days back on the ice skating, too.

Coach Peter Laviolette said Carter "looked good" at the morning skate, but the truth is he looked very stiff and didn't even push it. Speed drill were done at about 50 per cent.

Yet Jody Shelley remained on the ice with the scratches, which means he's coming out and Carter is the guy who is coming in.

Defenceman Chris Pronger, meanwhile, is out with a bad back and pulled hamstring.

Asked whether he could help the Flyers at less than full speed, Carter was honest.

"I don't know, it's a quick game right now," he replied. "I'm not too sure."

It's likely the Flyers do what they did with Pronger in the Buffalo series and ease Carter back with limited action, perhaps working just the power play.

"I'm not worried about that right now," Carte said. "I'm worried about getting myself healthy to get back. When I'm healthy, I'll worry about the other stuff."

What would be bring?
"He's a big skater, a big power forward, a great shot and deceptive shot," Scott Hartnell said. "With him in the lineup, it definitely adds a different element to the game."

Stiff response

Bruins coach Claude Julien had a stiff "no comment" on Laviolette's assertion that all the pressure is on Boston to close this series out on home ice.

Don't get comfortable

That seemed to be the message going around the Bruins dressing room after the morning skate.

Boston is up 2-0. The Flyers are notorious slow starters in any playoff series, but they are also notorious rally guys at the end.

Forget about the 0-3 comeback the Flyers pulled on Boston last year - the Bruins only have to look in the mirror at themselves to know it can be done. They rallied from an 0-2 start in the first round against Montreal to win the series in 7 games.

That's recent history.

"You've already seen a few times in the first round, teams being down and coming back," Brad Marchand said. "It's playoff time. Anything can happen.

"Teams are hungry and they are battling for their lives out there. We can't underestimate them. We know if we sit back and wait, they're going to roll. We have to be ready.

"We know it's going to be a battle all the way to the end. Being up 2-0 is a tough position to be in. Tonight is a huge game; 2-0 or 3-1 is a big difference. We have to make sure we're ready tonight because they are going to come out hard."

Hnidy in for McQuaid

Shane Hnidy will sub into the Bruins lineup for Adam McQuaid (neck injury), who is day to day.

Thievery in goal

Laviolette doesn't want to be reminded that, last spring, Michael Leighton became the first goalie in Flyers history to get three shutouts in a series.

Laviolette points out that in each case, Leighton had ample goal support, so it wasn't as if he was "stealing" games.

We think the reason Lavy doesn't want to be reminded about Leighton's success in net that series is because he realizes he doesn't have a goalie on his roster now capable of giving him a shutout.

And, quite frankly, given that Boston's Tim Thomas stole Game 2 with 52 saves, it's unlikely that Philly starter Brian Boucher can come close to matching that in this series.

Forget the fact the Flyers went the entire season without recording a shutout. The point is, they may not have anyone capable of stealing them a game in the post-season, even though that did happen on a few occasions during the regular season.

Laviolette would argue that if his team is going to come back in this series, it will do so by outscoring the Bruins and, as a group, not relying solely on its goalie as perhaps the Bruins have come to do in these playoffs.

"You go back to that Buffalo series. Ryan Miller played really well and our goaltender did, too. They were both 1-0 losses. But he didn't let it in ..."

"Certainly we need all of our players to play well. To put that much direction on one player, that is not how we are built. We're built as a team. We have been successful all year as the sum of all parts. To say we don't need good goaltending would not be true. We need good offence and defence, and that is how we survive here. We don't do it by one person.

"It's unfair to single out a guy and put that much [on him].That is not how we're built. If  it was how we were built, you'd certainly think that."

Boucher's take? It's more psychological than anything else.

"If we play the way we played in the third period and overtime, I think that will be enough to get a win," he said. "The goalie always wants to do his part. You don't know when the moment is going to come when you have to do it.

"It's not like, 'OK, we need you to steal one tonight.' That's how it plays out in a game. Sometimes, the goalie is the difference maker. Sometimes he is not a factor. If I can do that I would love to do it."

The other side of thievery

While Laviolette doesn't want to pressure his goalies, Bruins boss Claude Julien thinks that Thomas is quite capable of giving his team a hefty lift when it needs it most.

"Oh, no doubt," Julien said, referring to Game 2. "I thought in the third period, they really took it to us, and we didn't seem to have the same kind of jump that we needed. But Timmy allowed us to stay with it and we found a way to win.

"But there's no doubt that Tim had a big role to play in that, as far as giving the team the confidence to go out there and win that game. He just kept making those saves, and giving us those opportunities.

"Eventually, we found a way to score that goal, and as  Imentioned, he allowed us to do that because of the way he played."

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