Flyers Notes: Downie is close to returning, Berube says

Steve Downie lies on the ice after an injury during an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Steve Downie lies on the ice after an injury during an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Posted: April 05, 2014

Steve Downie missed his sixth straight game Thursday because of a head injury, but Flyers coach Craig Berube said that when the winger is ready, he wants him back in the lineup.

"I think he's close," Berube said before Thursday's key matchup against Columbus.

Tye McGinn could soon be the odd man out. "I think he's been fine," Berube said of McGinn. "He's skated well and been involved."

McGinn was on a line Thursday with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

"That line has been OK," Berube said. "I'd like to see them get to the net a little more, get some more opportunities around the net."

At first, Berube said, "We'll see how the team is going" when asked whether it would be a difficult decision to reinsert Downie when he is ready. The coach then added: "There are always decisions to make with the lineup, but he's going to be a part of it. He will be a part of it."

Downie, who turned 27 Thursday, has had his share of undisciplined moments this season, but Berube liked the way he was playing before he was hurt. "Since the Olympic break, his game has improved dramatically," Berube said. "I know he took some penalties, but he's playing on the edge and he has to play that way."

Timonen plays

As expected, Kimmo Timonen returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's 1-0 shootout loss in St. Louis. The Flyers said Timonen missed the game because of an upper-body injury - he took a puck to the chin in his previous game - but the defenseman said he didn't make the trip because he had a virus.

Defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Nick Grossmann played Thursday despite foot injuries. MacDonald was limping badly before the game.

Bobrovsky returns

For the first time since he was dealt to Columbus after the 2011-12 season, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky faced the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender last season, said he was excited to return to Philadelphia, but his motivation was the tight playoff race - and not to prove that the Flyers were wrong for trading him.

The 25-year-old Russian said that he had "great years" with the Flyers and that he "really appreciated" his time here.

"This is a special game, a special feeling, definitely," Bobrovsky said after the morning skate.

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