By JAY BOEHMER
Staff Writer — firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter will both be missing from the Flyers’ lineup in New Jersey for Thursday night’s Game 5 matchup of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Philadelphia currently leads the seven game series 3-1 and is on the verge of clinching the victory.
Both left the ice at some point during Tuesday night’s Game 4, a 4-1 win at home. Neither was able to return. Both players are currently listed as “day-to-day”.
Jeff Carter, who missed the last three weeks of the regular season with a fractured left foot returned for the final two games and the ensuing playoff round. He didn’t register a single goal in his first five games back, but picked up two in last night’s game to help put his team ahead by three games to one in the playoff series.
His injury occurred after blocking a shot off his right foot (not the one he previously injured) on a Chris Pronger slapshot from the point. He was able to stay up and put the rebound home for the Flyers’ fourth and final goal, but hobbled to the bench and did not return.
Simon Gagne left the game near the end of the second period after a shift in which he blocked a pair of shots, with the final blow possibly coming from the stick of New Jersey’s Brian Rolston.
Both players, while not major point contributors so far in the series, will be missed greatly. Gagne was just starting to work himself into a harder working role to counter his lack of scoring. He was seen grinding in the corners and blocking shots on the penalty kill. Ultimately, it may have been this newly adapted style that caused his injury.
The two holes at forward will be tough to fill. An obvious first step is to put Ville Leino, a healthy scratch as of late. Leino played his last game on April 6th. After Leino, the next stopgap is probably going to be Riley Cote, who has averaged about three and a half minutes of ice time in only three games that he’s played so far in 2010.
The Flyers would then need a player called up from the Phantoms. One of the most likely candidates is David Laliberte, who played 11 games with the Flyers back in October and November and registered a goal and an assist in his debut on October 31st. Other possibilities are Jon Kalinski and Andreal Nodl, who each had a short stint with the Flyers earlier in the season.
Look to see if the Flyers can keep the ship afloat long enough, end this exhausting series with a win in New Jersey, and get to resting so these two important pieces can make it back in the lineup for a possible second round matchup.
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