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Pronger injures eye as Flyers stop Leafs, 4-2

It was billed as the first-ever matchup of the Schenn brothers - the Flyers' Brayden and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Luke.

It was billed as the first-ever matchup of the Schenn brothers - the Flyers' Brayden and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Luke.

About 12 minutes into Monday's matchup, however, it became known as The Game That Could Change the Flyers' Season.

Chris Pronger, the team's captain and undisputed leader, was struck in the face by an inadvertent stick - Mikhail Grabovski was following through on his shot when he struck the defenseman - and the future Hall of Famer dashed off the ice in excruciating pain, holding his right eye.

Apparently the injury wasn't as bad as initially feared.

After the Flyers' 4-2 win over Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center, general manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger was hit on the outer side of his right eye, but he hoped he could resume skating in about 10 days and return to the lineup in a few weeks.

Holmgren said Pronger experienced blurred vision in the eye at first, but it returned to normal. The GM said Pronger, 37, who had an injury-plagued 2010-11 season, would visit an eye doctor during each of the next four days. He was examined Monday night by Stephen Goldman, the team's eye doctor.

"He has a little bit of an issue with his eye," Holmgren said. ". . . He'll basically be on bed rest for three days, and the hope is he'll be fine within a few weeks here. We're hoping he can rejoin the team within 10 days or two weeks."

"It's scary, obviously, to see him clutching his eye," winger Scott Hartnell said. "Chris Pronger is one of the biggest warriors in the NHL."

Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr each scored their first two goals of the season as the Flyers ended a two-game losing streak.

But Pronger's eye injury overshadowed the victory.

"The hope is that blood doesn't build up there. That's why we have him on bed rest the next four days," Holmgren said.

Pronger is one of the few players on the team who does not wear a protective visor.

"When Chris comes back, he'll be wearing a visor," Holmgren said. "We made it mandatory in the American Hockey League. To me, it's not an issue. Obviously, some of these guys have gone a long time, and for whatever reason they don't want to wear them. The improvements they've made with the visor compared to what it was 10, 15 years ago are tremendous.

"I'm not sure our doctor would clear him to play unless he wears a visor."

Pronger's injury stunned his teammates.

"You try to block it out as much as possible," said center Danny Briere, who collected his 600th career point on a second-period assist. "Obviously, it is in the back of all of our minds and we wish him the best and that he will be OK. But once you are on the ice, you try not to think about it as much and just play the game."

With the game tied, 1-1, Hartnell scored from one knee after taking a feed from Briere, who was behind the net with a little more than four minutes remaining in the second period.

That was Briere's 600th career point.

"Those are milestones you'll look back at the end of your career and appreciate a lot more," said Briere, 34. "For now, that was a big goal. Toronto was all over us in the first half of the period, but we came back strong.  We weathered the storm and did a much better job controlling the play and puck, taking shots on net the second half of the period."

Backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (2-0) was sharp in his second start of the season.

With Pronger injured, defensemen Andreas Lilja and Matt Walker figure to see a lot more action.

Holmgren said Pronger "wasn't in the mood to talk. I think he was very scared - and rightly so. Something like that happens to your eye, you're worried and don't know what's going on. But I think he settled down and was fine when he left here."

Matt Read also took a stick to the face. Read was hit by Joffrey Lupul's high stick in the opening period. Lupul was given a double-minor penalty. While Lupul was in the penalty box, Jagr scored his 647th career goal.

Read later returned and played in all situations.

Toronto got to within 3-2 with 8 minutes, 26 seconds left as a pass deflected off David Steckel's glove and appeared to nick Bobrovsky's stick before trickling into the net. But Jagr secured the win by scoring on another breakaway with 4:45 to go.

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