When Kimmo Timonen was working out and trying to return to the lineup after being sidelined by blood clots, he dreamed of skating onto the Wells Fargo Center ice this spring and being in the thick of a playoff race.
On Wednesday, the veteran defenseman will get that chance.
Timonen had hoped to do it for the Flyers. Instead, he and his Chicago Blackhawks will be facing the Orange and Black.
The Flyers dealt Timonen, now 40, to Chicago last month for a second-round draft pick in June and a conditional selection that could be a second-rounder in 2016.
The Flyers are expected to welcome him back with a video tribute on the scoreboard.
"It's going to be awesome," smiling right winger Jake Voracek said about having Timonen back. "Hopefully, I'll meet him in the corner a couple times. I'll give him a hard time.
"He'll get a standing ovation because he obviously deserves it," Voracek said. "It's good for him that he'll get a shot at a Stanley Cup for the person he is and the player he is."
Timonen, who was with the Flyers since 2007-08, has no points and is minus-2 while averaging just under 121/2 minutes of ice time in nine games with the Blackhawks. He has said this will be his final season.
The Blackhawks would not make Timonen available to the Philadelphia media Tuesday.
Steve Mason said it will be a "special night" for the fans and the Flyers to have Timonen back.
"We miss him - not only on the ice, but we miss having him in the dressing room," Mason said.
The goalie said Timonen calmed things down on the ice.
"He thinks the game. . . . He's always a step ahead."
Winger Wayne Simmonds, an alternate captain, said players "try to learn from a guy like Kimmo. He just had such a big presence in the room and on the ice."
Simmonds said puck battles with Timonen would be "weird."
"When he left, he was joking; he messaged all the guys and was like, 'Don't hit me in the corners when you guys see me out there. I'll be back in a few weeks.' "
Chicago (44-22-6) has 20 more points than the Flyers (29-29-16). That means the Flyers have the Blackhawks right where they want them.
The Flyers have feasted on quality teams recently, while losing to league lightweights.
"We're finding a way to elevate our game when we play against good teams," captain Claude Giroux said. "We know Chicago is one of the best out there, so if we're going to give ourselves a chance to win, we have to make sure we go out there and outwork them."
Oddly, the Flyers have just one regulation loss in their last 13 games (8-1-4) against teams that were in a playoff spot when they met. Conversely, they have zero regulation wins in their last nine games (0-6-3) against teams that were out of a playoff spot when they played.
The Flyers, losers of four straight, are 20-9-6 at home and 9-20-10 on the road. . . . Nick Luukko, a senior defenseman from the University of Vermont whose father, Peter, used to be the Flyers president, signed an amateur tryout contract with the Phantoms. The Flyers drafted him in the sixth round in 2010.
Coach Craig Berube said he likes what he has seen from rookie center Nick Cousins in his three games with the team. "He's good without the puck, responsible," Berube said. "He plays a little bit of a feisty game, and that line has been good.". . . . The Fox Chase Cancer Center announced that the Flyers Wives donated $400,000 to its women's cancer center.