Pronger out tonight in Toronto; Boynton is ready

Chris Pronger will miss tonight's game against the Maple Leafs. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

TORONTO -- Turns out, Chris Pronger is day-to-day with more than just “hurt feelings,” as he likes to say.

Pronger will miss tonight’s matchup with the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger is struggling with an upper-body injury and he is day-to-day.

In turn, defenseman Nick Boynton will play his first game as a Flyer since being picked up off waivers from Chicago on Feb. 26.

“I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity,” Boynton told the Daily News. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played. The longer you’re out, the rustier you get. But I’ve been working hard to keep at it, so I’m good to go.”

Boynton was a healthy scratch for each of the first four games he has been with the Flyers. He was also a healthy scratch for 18 of his last 22 games with the Blackhawks. His last game was back on Feb. 7.

“Good to go,” Boynton said. “It’s been great, it’s a good group of guys. They’ve all been great to me since I’ve gotten here. They’re a good team, they like to have fun and they’re confident and they deserve where they are in the standings. It’s been fun.”

Boynton said he has picked up on the different wrinkles in the Flyers’ system since coming over from Chicago, but said that playing for Peter Laviolette back in 2000 in the AHL has helped him.

“Every system there are a few differences with the way they play defensively and the way they try to do things,” Boynton said. “Aside from a few things, it’s still hockey. It’s still played the same way. I understand sorta the way ‘Lavi’ likes to play before, so I’m familiar with it. It shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up.”

The Flyers lost to Toronto, 3-2, exactly a week ago in Philadelphia.

Pronger's injury comes at an interesting time, as coach Peter Laviolette - who refused to comment on his lineup changes for tonight - said on Monday that he was eager to get Boynton in the mix.

Pronger skated by himself with assistant coach Kevin McCarthy for approximately 30 minutes after his teammates exited the ice after their morning skate. He was doing sprints and various pivoting drills - which is rare for a 17-year NHL vet to be doing in a morning skate.

Pronger missed the Flyers’ Feb. 26 loss in Ottawa with a hand/wrist contusion after blocking a slap shot on Feb. 24 against the Islanders.

Pronger refused to acknowledge whether this injury is a re-aggravation of that one, instead directing all questions to Holmgren with his usual surliness and sarcasm.

BOOSH STARTS: Brian Boucher will start in net tonight against Toronto. Boucher has stopped 43 of 46 shots faced in two games against the Maple Leafs this season, winning both starts. Sergei Bobrovsky started for the Flyers last week against Toronto and gave up a side-angle goal to give Toronto the win late in the third period. Bobrovsky was the only player to get in more work at the morning skate than Pronger.

HEALTHY: Nik Zherdev and Andreas Nodl are the Flyers’ healthy scratches at forward tonight.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers.

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