Bad news came out of Philadelphia yesterday for Flyers fans. Kimmo Timonen will miss the rest of the playoffs with a serious blood clot in his ankle. All season Timonen has been the Flyers best defenseman, and he was supposed to be the main guy going into a series against the high flying powerful offense of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now the Flyers need to rely on other guys to fill in for the absent Timonen. Braydon Coburn is young, but he has been a solid defenseman since coming over in a trade last season from Atlanta. He is normally paired with Timonen and will need to make sure he plays up to his potential in this series.
Captain Jason Smith will need to step up his game as well. He hasn't looked like the perfect shut down defenseman the Flyers envisioned when bringing him in. He is still a very good defenseman and if he plays to his ability is one of the top defensive defenseman in the league.
Young guys Randy Jones and Lasse Kukkonen will gain more ice time and will have more responsibility now that Timonen is out. This injury also clears a path for Jaroslav Modry or Ryan Parent to come back into the lineup. Derian Hatcher has played better this season than the parking cone we are accustomed to in the past few seasons. But it will be tough for him to slow down any of the Penguins forwards.
I see this as being a high scoring series, and I don't think Philadelphia has enough to match up with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers are going to need a better than perfect series from their defense, and they need to solve hot goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins need to take advantage of Timonen being out. Many of Philadelphia's defenseman are slow skaters so the Penguins need to utilize their high speed offense. Keep shooting as often as possible, try to rattle Martin Biron. If they can accomplish this I don't like the Flyers chances, but I've been wrong before.
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