Timonen will miss Flyers game in St. Louis

Kimmo Timonen was injured during the second period of Sunday's game against the Bruins.
Kimmo Timonen was injured during the second period of Sunday's game against the Bruins. (MATT SLOCUM / AP)
Posted: April 02, 2014

The Flyers have been nearly flawless against the NHL's elite teams recently, but they have to take on powerful St. Louis on Tuesday without their best defenseman, Kimmo Timonen.

Timonen was hit in the chin with the puck in Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to Boston, but he returned to the game. He did not participate in Monday's optional skate at the Wells Fargo Center, and the did not make the trip to St. Louis.

Erik Gustafsson (plus-9), a healthy scratch the last 14 games, will replace him.

The Flyers defeated the visiting Blues, 4-1, on March 22, and they have a combined 4-0-1 record against St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston since March 15.

"We've done a good job of staying responsible with the way we're playing, and when we do that, that's when we're successful," said captain Claude Giroux, whose team has allowed a total of nine goals in the five recent games against those league heavyweights.

St. Louis, which leads the Western Conference with 107 points, is coming off Saturday's 4-2 loss to visiting Dallas.

"Maybe they'll be a little ticked off . . . and it's going to be a tough game for us," Giroux said. "We'll have to make sure we play as a team, and if we do, I think we'll give ourselves a good chance to win."

The Blues are a quick, physical team that has an active forecheck.

"There's not much flash in their game; it's pretty simple: they get pucks in deep and they come at you hard," defenseman Luke Schenn said. "As soon as you look up, you think you have time, but the guy's right on you, so you don't have a lot of time and space to make plays against them."

In the win over the Blues, "we simplified our game, and tried to play a hard game, too - a north game and put pucks in deep," Schenn said. "It's a good challenge for us and the guys look forward to it."

Considering they started the season 1-7 and 4-10-1, it's pretty remarkable that he Flyers control their playoff destiny with eight games remaining.

"Getting off to the start we did, it looked like a long shot to be in this position, but you have to give the guys credit. There's a lot of character in this room," Schenn said. "There's a never-quit attitude here, for sure. The guys have worked hard to get in this position, and I don't think it's a fluke that we're here."

Is Flyers coach Craig Berube ready to include his team with the NHL's elite?

"We're getting close," Berube said. "I think we've shown we're getting to a pretty good level, but we have to continue to get better. I honestly believe we can get better than we're playing. . . . We can become a better defensive team."'


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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