Posted on May 17, 2008 02:12 PM | Permalink
Two days between games in the series has helped the Flyers more than the Penguins as they needed some extra time for their injured players.
TIMONEN IS BACK
The Flyers will have Kimmo Timonen (blood clot) back for Game 5. He has full medical clearance to play and he says he is ready.
“I’m ready to go,” he said, coming off the ice today at practice. Later he said, “I hope to be on the ice. I got to trust the doctors that there is no risk at all if I play. The symptoms won’t be gone, they will be the same but it felt pretty good today at practice and that’s why I’m pretty confident I’m ready to go. I talked to is the doctors and our trainers in the last [week]. I just want to make sure there is no risk of me going out there and then something bad happens. I don't want that to happen."
COBURN IS IFFY
Braydon Coburn still has some depth perception issues in his left eye. He may or may not have some concussion symptoms, such as a headache. There have been some hints at such, but Coburn hasn’t been specific. He took a deflected puck to the eye in Game 2 and has not played since. Yet he does expect to suit up tomorrow. “There’s a good chance [I’ll play],” he said. “Everything felt pretty good [at practice]. I felt like I've been off the ice for a couple of days. Wearing the visor is a little bit of an adjustment as well. But it's something I'm going to have to do right now.”
COACH JOHN STEVENS SAYS
Asked what it would mean to his club if both Timonen and Coburn were on the ice for Game 5, he replied, “They're a big part of our team all year, but I think that's true of all the guys. It's great to have these guys being able to be around. But Kimmo's an elite player in the league. He's not just a great player, he's one of our leaders. To lose a guy like that, they're not easily replaced.
"You need a lot extra from everybody in your lineup just to try to close the gap that was left behind when he was out. Cobe's a big guy, plays in all situations, creates speed, good defender. And Kimmo plays in every situation that there is in the hockey game. So to get one or both back would be a great lift for us in a lot of ways.”
MICHEL THERRIEN SAYS
Asked about the play of Evgeni Malkin in the series against the Flyers so far, the Penguins coach was candid: “You know what, he hasn't been productive like he was in the past. But he's going to have to find a way next game to make sure he's going to be productive like he used to be as soon as the playoffs start. But, in the meantime, I think they did a good job about checking him.
"It's not sometimes a matter of the players not being productive. Sometimes you've got to give credit to the other team. They're doing a good job right now to contain him. It's going to be up to Evgeni Malkin to make sure he's going to be productive offensively. But, in the meantime, you know, I think he's playing good both places on the ice. He's got to keep focused on those things and keep his concentration there.”
There is a thought that Malkin, having played the shorter seasons in Europe, he’s not used to the longer stretches seen in the NHL playoffs. “Yes, it is a long season,” Therrien said. “He had been through that last year. I think he's got more experience this year to play through the schedule that we're facing in the NHL, plus the playoffs. But, in the meantime, I could understand of fatigue would be a factor if we would have played 7 games in every round. I think we had some quality time for rest. And because of the amount of games that we played in the playoffs, so I don't think fatigue is a factor.”
THE LINE CHANGE
Therrien switched around his lines in Game 4 after the Flyers jumped ahead 3-0. The new unit he came up with had Max Talbot, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy and they played well. Will that line remain intact for Game 5?
“When you're trailing by three goals, you're trying to make a comeback, that is the number one thing,” Therrien said. “We take a lot of pride in playing well defensively. We take a lot of pride about trying to get the lead and we can concentrate really well about checking. Having a good checking game. We're going to come back with the same recipe that we had success so far.
"That means we're going to try to rotate four lines and try to get the lead early to get the pressure on them and concentrate on the way we're supposed to play. That's not something that I'm planning to do right from the start with Staal and Kennedy, because I like Maxime, first of all as a centerman. And I like to rotate four lines to the majority of the game. But we're in position that we've got to go with plan B pretty quick.”