Braydon Coburn

practiced yesterday and may play tonight as the Flyers face playoff elimination by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coburn missed Tuesday's Game 3 because his left eye was still shut after being struck by a puck Sunday in Game 2. The eye was partially opened yesterday, and he wore a face shield.

"We'll see how it feels [today]," Coburn said. "I had a good workout. I feel a little bit tired, having been off a few days."

Coburn said the eye reopened late Tuesday after he iced it.

"This morning, it opened a little more," Coburn said. He said his vision was not preventing him from performing on the ice.



Marty Biron

, on how tough it is going to be to win four straight from Pittsburgh: "When we played Montreal, after Game 1, we made some adjustments, got a bounce one way, and went out and won four straight.

"It's kind of the same thing. We have to make adjustments. We need to get some bounces our way. [Tonight] we put it all on the line."

Defensive pressure

You'd be hard-pressed to find the few spots in this series in which the Flyers had decent forechecking and cycled down low.

The Pens aren't allowing the Flyers to get the puck deep. Their defensive pressure has been stifling.

"Well, they've got to give a lot of credit to the defensemen," Pens coach Michel Therrien said. "I thought they moved the puck really well. We played a solid defensive game.

"We don't like to lose the puck. We don't want the other team to forecheck us that hard. It's a unit of five that's got to do their job on the ice, and we stressed that to the players to make sure that unit of five was going to be there and do their job."

The Flyers "tried to forecheck hard" in Game 3, "and that was part of their game plan," Therrien said. But the Penguins were able "to contain them and move some pucks with the breakout," make "good decisions with the puck, and take away a little bit of their forecheck."

Pens captain Sidney Crosby was asked about the effectiveness of the Penguins' defense in Game 3.

"Oh, it's up there, for sure," he said. "Especially the first two periods, we didn't give them much at all."

Crosby said Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury deserved credit "because he didn't see a lot in the first two periods, and when he did see some shots, he was solid and sharp.

"In the third, he [faced] a little more, and he was more than ready. A lot of people don't realize how tough that is for a goaltender, especially one who sees more than that typically. And he was mentally sharp throughout the whole game."

During Edmonton's Stanley Cup run in the 1980s, Wayne Gretzky remarked that even though the Oilers were an offensive club, they made certain to buy into coach Glen Sather's defensive schemes once the playoffs arrived.

The Mario Lemieux-led Penguins teams that won the Cup in 1991 and 1992 had good defenders in Larry Murphy, Ulf Samuelsson and Phil Bourque. This Pens club has Sergei Gonchar, Brooks Orpik and Ryan Whitney. They aren't perhaps of the same pedigree, but are a lot better than people give them credit for.

Crosby was asked how difficult it was for the Pens to buy into Therrien's defensive schemes, given all the offensive skill.

"I don't think it's difficult," Crosby said. "We all depend on each other, and we realize everyone has that responsibility and we don't want to let the guy next to us down.

"We know we're depended on to play that way, and that is the only way you're going to win - if you're working hard in your own zone to get back and do those little things defensively.

"So we've seen it work firsthand. The more that you can play well defensively, the less you're chasing and the better opportunities you get offensively."

Fond memories

A boy who was part of the Flyers' Stanley Cup parades in 1974 and '75 is now the 45-year-old general manager of the Penguins.

Ray Shero, son of the legendary Flyers coach Fred Shero, was not quite 12 years old when his father took him along for a parade ride.

"I have a lot of nice memories from the seven years I lived here," Shero said. "I was in both parades. That's back when streaking was in. There were two million people and there must have been 100,000 of them with no clothes on. I thought, 'What the heck is going on here?' "

Shero recalled that his family rented Vic Stasiuk's home in Bala Cynwyd before moving to Cherry Hill. Fred Shero succeeded Stasiuk as the Flyers' coach.

"We'd spend our summers down the Shore," Shero said. "I still have a lot of friends here."

On a roll

The Penguins are the first team to go 11-1 in the playoffs since 1983, when the Oilers did it. They seem determined to make it 12-1 tonight.

"We're right here and we can taste it," defenseman Hal Gill said. "We want to get it done as soon as possible."

Pens winger Petr Sykora said he thought Steve Downie hit him late after he assisted on Ryan Malone's goal in Game 3, which gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead midway through the third period. Sykora was momentarily shaken after Downie drilled him, but returned to play. Downie's turnover led to the goal.