Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn said yesterday that he still had depth-perception problems, among other issues, after being hit in the face by a puck in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Nonetheless, he said he expected to play today in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, who lead the series by three games to one.
"I'm dealing with some things with the eye and stuff like that and every day it's been getting better, and tomorrow I will evaluate it again," Coburn said. "Yeah, there's a good chance" I'll play.
"Everything felt pretty good. . . . Wearing the visor is a little bit of an adjustment as well. But it's something I'm going to have to do right now."
Coach John Stevens said a decision on Coburn would be made this morning.
"He just has to decide if he feels well enough to play," Stevens said. "I mean, he's still trying to get back on the ice and see how he sees through his eye with the injury he's had, and make sure he feels 100 percent."
The last time the Penguins lost at home was Feb. 24. Baseball players were still getting reacquainted at spring training. A few stubborn petals remained on those Valentine's Day roses.
Since that long-ago loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Penguins have won 15 consecutive games, including seven in the playoffs.
No wonder, then, that it was difficult to discern from the mood in the Penguins' locker room after Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Flyers in Game 4 whether they had won or lost.
"Obviously, we've played some really solid hockey with the support of our fans, with the emotion that they bring," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said Friday. "We're a tough team to play against at home, there's no doubt. We've proven it in the past, and we'll be a tough team to play" today.
The home-ice advantage in the NHL playoffs is not nearly as pronounced as it is in the NBA. Home teams are 46-31 in the postseason, a success rate slightly less than 60 percent.
The Penguins, however, have taken home-ice advantage to the extreme. They have allowed only 13 goals in the seven games at Mellon Arena. After surrendering two goals to the Flyers in the first period of Game 1, Pittsburgh held them to two goals the next five periods.
After winning the first three games against the Rangers in the second round, the Penguins lost Game 4 in New York before returning home to finish the series. But unlike that fourth game against the Rangers, in which the Penguins appeared to play with disinterest, they believe they gathered momentum by outplaying the Flyers for most of the second half Thursday, leaving their confidence intact.
"We came back and battled hard, and that's what we have to take with us when we go back home to play Game 5," Penguins center Maxime Talbot said. "We know what it takes. We know what we did wrong."
Defenseman Brooks Orpik added, "We'll be fine. We'll take some momentum from the second and third period and come up big."