If Andrej Meszaros is to rejoin the Flyers this season, he'll be doing so in the throes of a deep Stanley Cup playoff run.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced today that Meszaros will be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks after he has surgery on Wednesday to have a small disk fragment removed from his lower back.
The surgery was first reported by NBC10’s Howard Eskin. It will be performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital by Dr. Alex Vaccaro.
Meszaros, 26, has missed the last nine games since March 1. Unlike injured counterparts Kimmo Timonen and Pavel Kubina, who have also missed time in that span, Meszaros was the Flyers’ lone defender not to continue with a steady skating regimen to stay in shape.
Since the rest provided little relief for Meszaros, the Flyers decided to take a more aggressive healing approach.
Six or 8 weeks from tomorrow would roughly peg a return for Meszaros from May 2-16, which would mean that the Flyers would need to advance deep into the second round or perhaps even into the Eastern Conference finals to benefit from his services again this season.
Even though rookies Erik Gustafsson and Brandon Manning have performed well in Meszaros' absence, losing him is a big blow. Meszaros played 20-plus steady minutes on the blue line this year. He was also on pace to lead the Flyers in hits (2.32 hits per game) and the Flyers' defense in shots on goal (1.83 shots per game) this season. Meszaros has 7 goals and 18 assists in 62 games.
The rash of injuries makes Holmgren's pre-deadline moves for Nicklas Grossmann and Kubina more wise by the day. Those two players could end up saving the Flyers' season.
Kubina, in fact, could rejoin the Flyers as soon as Tuesday night against Florida. Out since March 4 with an "upper-body" injury, he did not accompany the team on their two-game road trip to Long Island and Boston, as he stayed back in South Jersey to rehab and skate on his own.
Kubina said last week that he was "close" and was hopeful that he could return soon.
Defenseman Andreas Lilja (throat injury) and forward Max Talbot (upper-body) remain day-to-day with their injuries and their status for Tuesday's game is unknown.
More honors for Bryz
Even though it was Scott Hartnell who garnered all of the headlines after Sunday's thrilling comeback against Pittsburgh, it was Ilya Bryzgalov who earned the award on Monday.
Bryzgalov was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for the second consecutive week.
Bryzgalov went 3-0-1 with a 1.44 goals against-average, a .950 save percentage and one shutout in his four starts from March 12-18. He was in net for both of the Flyers' back-to-back games last weekend, in which they collected 3 out of 4 points against Boston and Pittsburgh.
Along the way, Bryzgalov set the NHL's second-best, modern-day shutout streak mark with a run of 249:43 between goals.
He beat out Chicago's Corey Crawford (3-0-0, 1.09, .948) and Nashville forward Martin Erat (2 goals, 5 assists) for the league's weekly top honor.
Sunday's win was Bryzgalov's 30th of the season, marking this the third consecutive year he's hit that mark. Bryzgalov is the Flyers' first goaltender since 2007-08 (Marty Biron) to win 30 games in a season - and just the second since 2002-03 (Roman Cechmanek), though the team has averaged 41 wins per year over that span.
Since being pulled against the Penguins on Feb. 18, Bryzgalov is 10-2-1 with a phenomenal 1.69 goals against-average, .941 save percentage and 4 shutouts.
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