The Flyers received good medical news on Wednesday: Chris Pronger, the heart of the team's defense, was cleared to start some light skating on Thursday.

Pronger, 36, broke his right foot blocking a shot in Montreal on Dec. 15 and, at the time, it was estimated he would miss four to six weeks.

Without Pronger, the Flyers have allowed 23 goals in six games (3.8 per game) and are 3-3.

Pronger will be re-evaluated by a doctor on Jan. 12.

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On Thursday, the Flyers travel to Newark to face the fading New Jersey Devils, who have accumulated an NHL-worst 22 points.

Repeat: 22 points _ or 31 fewer than the Flyers.

Center Danny Briere insists that the Flyers cannot overlook the Devils.

"They finished second in the conference last year and almost all of their players are back," he said.

The Devils have a minus-55 goal differential, while the Flyers are plus-27.

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Just when you thought you had seen everything....

Click on this link from a USHL game and you will see a puck hit the post so hard that it splits in half. Honest.

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Improving the special teams is one of the Flyers' goals the rest of the way.

Their power play is tied for 17th with a 17.1 percent success rate, while their penalty kill is tied for 16th, at 81.6 percent.

The Flyers' dominating even-strength play has compensated for their special teams' struggles.

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Defenseman Simon Bertilsson, the Flyers' third-round selection in the 2009 draft, picked up an assist in the World Junior championships. Sweden lost to USA, 4-2, in Wednesday's bronze-medal game.

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Breakaways. Pittsburgh trounced Tampa Bay on Wednesday, 8-1, and moved two points ahead of the Flyers in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Flyers have two games in hand....Goalie Johan Hedberg will start for the Devils Thursday. He is 1-1 against the Flyers this season, making 40 saves in a 2-1 shootout win, and dropping a 5-3 decision....Look for Brian Boucher to make his second straight start for the Flyers.....Darroll Powe leads the Flyers _ and is 25th in the NHL _ with 100 hits....Jack McIlhargey, who played for the Flyers and was later an assistant coach with the team, will go into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame on July 22. He is currently a Flyers scout.

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For constant Flyers updates, follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at

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