BY THE TIME the buzzer sounded in the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon, after the "We Don't Like You" and "You Can't Beat Us" chants, and a victor was declared in the Flyers-Penguins steel-cage death match, few Flyers were more beat up than Kimmo Timonen.
For Timonen, and warriors like him, the scars, bruises and limping are an annual rite of hockey in spring time.
See: 2008 Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh, when Timonen missed four games with a blood clot in his ankle.
But even Timonen says the weeklong rest in between series is a little too long.
"It's long," Timonen said. "We try to work out hard on these off-days, but it's tough. It's a long time."
Timonen and teammate Danny Briere were given their second day off from practice this week on Wednesday, an extra 24 hours without having to lace up the skates again. Ilya Bryzgalov said the Flyers need to eat their vegetables during the break.
Does the long layoff help or hurt the Flyers? Coach Peter Laviolette is indifferent, partially because that is the plan and he can't change it. Even if the Flyers went to a Game 7 with Pittsburgh on Tuesday and survived, they still would have had quite a few days to heal.
Plus, Laviolette can point to instances where the break helps and hurts.
Last spring, the Flyers went the distance against Buffalo in Game 7 on Tuesday, April 26, and were pounded, 7-3, by the Bruins on Saturday, April 30, on their way to being swept. In 2010, the Flyers had a 9-day layoff in between the first and second round and beat the Bruins in seven.
Laviolette's point is that you can bend the statistics and the dates to favor any direction you choose.
"It's important to be patient and stay focused," Claude Giroux said.
Normally, for a team playing with such emotion, idling for any length of time - especially without an opponent - could be dangerous. But Briere hinted that some of the Flyers, out of the public view, needed to be pieced together just to remain in the lineup against Pittsburgh.
For one, the rest will almost surely allow Nick Grossmann to return to the lineup for Game 1 after suffering an apparent concussion. Grossmann and fellow defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who had lower-back surgery on March 21, both skated in a full practice with the team on Wednesday in green "non-contact" jerseys.
Grossmann said he had "no idea" and "it's tough to say" when asked about his status. Meszaros, on the other hand, is clearly ahead of schedule. His original 6-to-8 week timetable by doctors after the surgery to repair a bulging disk would have pegged a return somewhere between May 3-17.
Meszaros, 26, has not played since March 1. He said he first needs to be cleared by a doctor for contact drills before thinking about playing in a game. That hasn't happened yet.
"It was a serious injury, so I don't want to go out there not 100 percent," Meszaros said. "Sometimes I have a good day, sometimes I have a bad day. Sometimes it's sore when I wake up, sometimes it's not. After skates, it's a little tight. It depends on what I do."
James van Riemsdyk, on the other hand, said he could use all the time he could get. Van Riemsdyk played a combined 14:17 in Games 5 and 6 against Pittsburgh in his first games back since fracturing his foot on March 1. The ice time was well off his one game regular-season average of 15:10.
"For me, personally, I think it's huge to have this week to feel better and get my legs back," van Riemsdyk said. "I'm sure once we have a team to play, we'll all kick back in. We all know what we're here for and the ultimate goal."
Jaromir Jagr also was given the day off from practice Wednesday . . . Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell both advanced to the Round of 16 in voting for the EA Sports NHL 13 cover job. Giroux is up against Montreal's P.K. Subban, while Hartnell is facing Boston's Tyler Seguin. Giroux and Hartnell could meet each other in the next round of the bracket. Voting runs until May 2 . . . This is the first time the Flyers have made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for three consecutive years since 1995-97 . . . Nashville's Pekka Rinne, Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist were named finalists for the Vezina Trophy on Wednesday.
"Sorry, I don't have any flashcards for that."
- Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov when asked about playing for Peter Laviolette, later clarifying (or joking) by saying that he was given index cards by the team's public relations with practice questions and possible answers after his Winter Classic snafu.