Flyers aim to go above .500 in Winnipeg

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Posted: April 06, 2013

WINNIPEG, Manitoba - The Flyers, their patchwork lineup held together by minor-league call-ups, adhesive tape and (waiver) wire, have overcome a slew of injuries and are on their longest winning streak of the season.

Somehow.

Winners of four straight, the Flyers (17-17-3) can climb over .500 for the first time this year with a victory over the free-falling Jets (18-19-2 ) in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon. The Flyers are three points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen, injured in the third period of Thursday's 5-3 win in Toronto, will be a game-time decision, general manager Paul Holmgren said. Holmgren would not specify the injury, but Timonen limped badly as he walked out of the locker room and declined to talk to reporters after Thursday's game.

Timonen, Chris Pronger, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nick Grossmann and Marc-Andre Bourdon are Flyers defensemen who are injured. If healthy, they would help compose one of the league's best defenses.

Grossmann is listed as day to day, but didn't make the trip to Winnipeg. That means if Timonen can't play, Kurtis Foster figures to be in the lineup.

Luke Schenn has been dominating lately and has led a gritty performance by the revamped defense. But without Timonen, the rest of the blue line would be made up of Erik Gustafsson, Bruno Gervais, Kent Huskins, Oliver Lauridsen and Foster - five players who have combined to play just 85 NHL games this year.

Gervais has been paired with Timonen lately.

"He's a big piece for the power play, for a lot of things," Gervais said. "He logs a lot of minutes. We want him back, but we want to make sure everything is OK."

The Flyers' attack is also patched together because of injuries to Max Talbot, Danny Briere and Zac Rinaldo.

The Alumni Line - Mike Knuble, Ruslan Fedotenko and Simon Gagne - has clicked recently, and wingers Adam Hall and Jay Rosehill played effective minutes in their Flyers' debut Thursday. Rosehill, acquired from Anaheim for Harry Zolnierczyk to give the Flyers a physical presence, even managed his first NHL goal in two years.

Despite the injuries, the Flyers have averaged 4.5 goals during their four-game winning streak.

"Guys have been stepping up," said Gervais, mindful that Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn have become offensive factors during the surge. "We're playing a team game right now. Everyone is chipping in. . .When you get on a winning streak like that, you need everyone to get involved and help out."

Coach Peter Laviolette has taken the injuries in stride.

"We've lost guys the entire year," he said. "I think it's just something we've had to deal with. I don't think it catches guys off guard. Players have come in and done the job."

As a result, the Flyers are knocking on the playoff door.

Winnipeg has lost five straight. The Flyers are 2-0 against the Jets this season, including a 3-2 victory in Winnipeg.

 


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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