After the Flyers finally broke through for their first victory of the Eastern Conference finals last night, they got some good news that gave them hope of extending the best-of-seven series a little bit longer.
Kimmo Timonen, their top defenseman, may have a chance to play in Game 5 on Sunday.
"I'm going to skate tomorrow," Timonen, who has been out for the entire series with a blood clot in his left ankle, said after the Flyers defeated Pittsburgh, 4-2. "I met the doctor today, and we took another ultrasound. Based on that, the doctor said I have a green light to give it a try. That's what I'm going to do.
"I'm going to skate and see how it feels. The doctor feels that there is no chance the clot is going to get loose or break up or anything like that. It's a great sign. A week ago, they were afraid it was going to get bigger and cut loose. I've been on blood thinners now for eight days, and we'll see how it goes."
Timonen has played superb hockey against the top lines of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens throughout the playoffs, but he was ruled out of the Pittsburgh series after soreness in his ankle did not go away. His return would be vital in helping stop the Penguins' high-powered attack led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Flyers coach John Stevens raised the possibility at his postgame news conference of not only getting Timonen back, but also defenseman Braydon Coburn, who suffered a horrible gash when hit by a puck in Game 2 of this series and needed more than 50 stitches near his left eye and nose.
"Is there a chance? I think there is, either or both," Stevens said. "But the first thing is to make sure of the health of the player. We're not going to put anybody at risk. If they can't go, we're going to keep marching ahead like we are. But if we're able to get one or both back, it would be a huge lift for our team."
Biron's solid form
showing more of the form that he exhibited in the Flyers' playoff wins over Washington and Montreal, his team gets to play at least one more game.
Biron shut out the high-powered Penguins for the first two periods last night and made some key stops against the Pens' desperate bid in the third, leading the Flyers to their first win in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Penguins can still advance to the Stanley Cup finals with a victory Sunday in Pittsburgh, but Biron gave the Flyers hope that a comeback from down three games to none - still a long shot - can happen. He recorded 36 saves last night.
Biron faced 11 shots before the game was 10 minutes old, but he stopped them all and then saw his teammates score three times in the opening period.
"You get a start to the game like tonight for a goalie where you see a bunch of shots early on, and then you give your team a chance to go on the attack afterward," Biron said.
"Getting a bit of a lead was definitely a big thing for us. We know they've got offensive power. We know they can come up and score goals any time in the game. The way we played in the first period gave us a chance to be ready for their two goals in the third period. They gave us a cushion."
Biron helped lead the Flyers to a first-round series victory in seven games over Washington, then sparkled in the Flyers' five-game elimination of the Canadiens. In Games 2 through 4 against Montreal, he allowed just two goals in each and had 34, 32 and 36 saves, respectively.
Stevens also saw some familiar signs in Biron last night.
"Marty was good," Stevens said. "He was solid. He looked like he was really sharp seeing the puck. It looked like he read things like he had previously. He looked really confident. He knew we were going to need him to be good, and he was."
For the most part, Biron kept the Penguins from pouncing on rebounds, and when he didn't, his defense played a big role in preventing second chances.
the Flyers' first-round pick of the 2006 NHL entry draft, was named most valuable player of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. Giroux, 20, tallied 51 points on 17 goals and 34 assists in 19 games for the Gatineau Olympiques, winners of the QMJHL championship.
- Joe Juliano