LOS ANGELES - Kimmo Timonen and the Flyers, for the moment, have dodged a bullet.
Timonen left the Flyers' embarrassing 6-2 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday night with 12 minutes to go after sustaining a vague lower-body injury earlier in the third period. While Timonen wouldn't comment on what happened and where it happened, he said yesterday he didn't think the injury is serious.
"I give it a 50-50 chance [to play tonight]," Timonen said. "I should be all right. We'll see. I'll take the morning skate and we will see. It's nothing really bad. But it's tight and sore.
"It's one of those things I've got to step on the ice and see how it feels."
All indications are that Timonen was hit with a shot in his left ankle or foot - as he was seen wearing protective covering in that area. Timonen did not participate in the Flyers' 45-minute practice yesterday in El Segundo, Calif.
As a precaution, the Flyers recalled rookie Erik Gustafsson from the Adirondack Phantoms to take Timonen's place if he cannot play. Gustafsson, 22, is the Phantoms' leading scorer as a defenseman, with 26 points in 33 games.
Gustafsson, a Swedish undrafted rookie out of Northern Michigan University, also has the AHL's worst plus/minus rating out of 914 players, a minus-24. Gustafsson picked up one assist in six preseason games with the Flyers this year.
"He was pretty smooth; he made good decisions with the puck," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette recalled about Gustafsson's training camp.
Gustafsson was chosen over Danny Syvret, who has 55 games of NHL experience, including 23 with the Flyers over the last 2 years. Gustafsson arrived in Los Angeles last night.
For now, Laviolette intends to use Timonen against the Western Conference's fourth-place Kings unless he says he is not available. The reality is that Timonen, 35, has rarely gone without routine bumps and bruises like these since arriving in Philadelphia in 2007.
"Right now, I'm planning on Kimmo being in the lineup," Laviolette said.
Last year, the Flyers lost their top four defensemen for a combined total of four man-games to injury. Now, less than 2 weeks after losing Chris Pronger for at least 4 weeks because of a slap shot that required foot surgery, even the Flyers' deep blue line would have looked vulnerable without Timonen.