Jody Shelley has a fractured orbital bone on the left side of his face and will undergo surgery tomorrow, general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Holmgren said he expected Shelley would be out 4 weeks after he took a puck below the left eye yesterday in practice.
The Flyers have recalled Danny Syvret from Adirondack, of the AHL. Syvret, has posted nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points in 45 games for the Phantoms this season since being acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Novv. 21.
Chris Pronger was both passing and shooting the puck at practice today, but is still wearing yellow jersey. Still, it shows a sign of improvement.
Even without Alex Ovechkin on the ice, at least one Russian figures to play a prominent role in tonight’s all-important clash in South Philadelphia between the Flyers and Capitals.
That’s because Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is handing tonight’s starting nod to rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, in what is the Flyers’ biggest game of the regular season.
We’ve already calculated the math for what tonight’s game means in the standings, which you can read here.
Tonight may be the first of a series of crucial tests for Bobrovsky, who Laviolette hinted at Monday’s practice may be the Flyers’ starting goalie when the playoffs roll around on April 12.
“They’re not the playoffs, but that’s where we’re at right now,” Laviolette said. “There have been lots of young goalies that have come in and performed well in the playoffs. We had one [Cam Ward] in Carolina in 2006, so it’s not something that can’t be done.”
In his only other start against Washington, back on Nov. 7, Bobrovsky allowed 3 goals on 39 shots. It was the Flyers’ only blemish in their 2-0-1 season series against the Capitals.
This time, Bobrovsky is coming off one of his best starts of the season on Saturday night in Dallas, when he turned aside 28 shots and held off the NHL’s best comeback team to preserve a 3-2 shootout win. He also stopped 5 of 6 breakaway attempts in the shootout.
Saturday night’s win - in which he handled the puck comfortably and confidently for the first time all season - pushed his record to 26-11-5. He has a save percentage of .916 and goals against-average of 2.56.
His record over his last 8 starts is just 3-3-2.
Tonight, though, will be a different atmosphere. Bobrovsky has played in big spots before in the season - see: first game of the regular season to open Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center - but this is his first shot in a true playoff-type pressure cooker.
“We can’t manufacture playoff experience for him,” Laviolette said. “He’s going to have to earn it on his own and get it on his own. This will be his first crack at it.”
And, depending on the outcome, it may be his only crack at it. Laviolette has shown no hesitation to counter with Brian Boucher, the grizzled veteran that was once a rookie playoff starter for the Flyers exactly 11 years ago.
Bobrovsky’s performance adds just one more wrinkle to an already important matchup.
SLAP SHOTS: The Capitals are expected to be without Mike Green, Jason Arnott, and Eric Fehr in addition to Ovechkin. Washington has won 12 of their last 14 games ... With Erik Gustafsson re-assigned to the Phantoms, defenseman Nick Boynton will return to the lineup after sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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