BUFFALO -- Glued to a television showing replays inside the Flyers’ locker room, Chris Pronger had a smile on his face on Wednesday night.
“A physical series... I love it!” Pronger said.
So, with the Flyers’ opening round series knotted at two games a piece, the question bears asking: is it time for Pronger to get involved in the nastiness? That would be a big trump card for coach Peter Laviolette to play.
Game 5 is Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Pronger skated again on Wednesday morning in Buffalo - and at this point, it looks like he may be a serviceable addition to the Flyers’ lineup. That wasn’t so just a week ago.
Make no mistake: Pronger is not going to be firing rockets from the blue line if he returns at any point in this series with the Sabres. His low powered shots on net this week have looked more like muffins than missiles.
However, Pronger can now make a strong enough first outlet pass out of the Flyers’ zone. And while he has not been able to test how his fractured right hand will react with physical contact from opponents, especially opponents that know it’s the right hand and not the left, Pronger is one of the savviest skaters in the NHL.
He knows exactly when to push an injury. And with his team now tied, Friday night’s Game 5 may be the first time to do that since undergoing surgery on March 15 for an injury that happened on Feb. 26 against the Islanders.
Still, no member of the Flyers’ management team will push Pronger into doing something he doesn’t want to or doesn’t feel comfortable doing. He has missed 20 straight games with good reason.
There is a good chance that if the Flyers were to have taken Game 4, to take a 3-1 series lead, we would not have seen Pronger skate in this series. At the very least, any return would have likely been delayed until Game 6. That is all out the window now.
The Flyers have a series on their hands, a physical one at that. And Pronger is probably licking his chops.
The Flyers’ scratches are scheduled to skate on Thursday morning at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. It isn’t immediately known whether the Flyers’ regulars will skate. Either way, it shouldn’t be too long before we know more - and more about Jeff Carter's apparent knee injury.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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