The potential return of
for tomorrow's fifth game of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins in Pittsburgh will give the Flyers a boost, but it also will mean one defenseman will have to be removed from the active roster.
There is a chance, however, that 21-year-old
, the back-line player with the least amount of playoff experience, will not be that guy.
Parent has acquitted himself well in the two games he has played since
suffered a severe gash near his left eye in Game 2 that required more than 50 stitches. Parent recorded an assist in Thursday night's game and logged nearly 16 minutes of ice time.
"Bernie, as we like to call him, has played really well," Flyers goalie
. "He's playing with confidence, making the simple play, making great passes. He's just a young guy. He hasn't played a lot in the last two months, but he's definitely responded well."
said Parent "certainly deserves consideration" to remain in the rotation.
"These are decisions that are difficult to make for a coach because these guys all want to play, and they all want to help," Stevens said. "But there's no question to me that Ryan has been impressive for a young player coming in in this situation.
"Pittsburgh is arguably the best team in the East. They've been the hottest team in the playoffs. He's come in in an intense environment with our season on the line and has played very well."
Should Parent hang on to his spot, a likely candidate to be deactivated would be
(minus-2 in Thursday's game) or
The Flyers still have a tremendous hill to climb before they can get back in this series, but they have been known to respond in adverse situations this season.
After all, this is a team that had to go 7-1-1 in its last nine games just to make the playoffs.
"I was having that conversation with myself driving in in my truck this morning," Stevens said. "Look at the last nine games in the Atlantic Division and really, it was every game we had to win. We'd win one game and get to the next one, and that was one we had to win. We had the ability to get up and get focused."
Two star attractions - the Flyers'
and the Penguins'
- had a bit of a disagreement with about 15 seconds to play Thursday night, but the officials separated them before any real punches were thrown.
Richards said he was trying to go forward with the puck when he met up with Crosby, touching off the incident that resulted in two minor penalties for both players.
"I was just trying to go through with the puck," Richards said yesterday. "I think he was thinking I was trying to slash his ankles, but . . . whatever."
Richards said he felt the team did a good job shutting down Crosby but didn't quite agree with a suggestion the Flyers had frustrated him.
"I don't think you can frustrate Sid too much," he said. "He's such a skilled player and he's so used to getting picked on, I guess, [with] people going after him physically and verbally. So you're not going to frustrate him too much. But as a group, I thought we did a good job of shutting him down."