The Flyers went into Tuesday expecting to get a boost from Jake Voracek’s return to the lineup.
They just weren’t so sure about Kimmo Timonen.
Turns out, both Voracek and Timonen will play in tonight's grudge match against New Jersey at the Wells Fargo Center (7 o'clock, Comcast Network). Timonen, 36, missed the last 5 games with a lower-body injury.
He said he is “95 percent” sure he will play against the Devils, after his status was moved from “out indefinitely” to “day-to-day” on Monday night.
Timonen’s 248-game ironman streak was broken on March 1 when he sat out against Washington. All told, including 40 playoff games from 2009-11 and 6 games in the 2010 Olympics for Finland, Timonen skated in more than 294 consecutive games.
It appears the Flyers wanted Timonen to get rest more than anything.
“Kimmo’s been one of those warriors who shows up night after night, and he has since I’ve been here,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s a guy that gets banged up a lot but he constantly makes the lineup and never turns down a game.
“We thought it was in our best interest to remove him and give it some time.”
Timonen views his recent 5-game respite as an important break before the playoffs roll around in a month. He looked fresh on the ice in the Flyers’ morning skate in Voorhees, working on the top power play unit.
“Mentally, it’s been great, actually,” Timonen said. “I’ve played a lot of hockey the last 4 years. Obviously, the last 10 days, I didn’t do much. It’s really good. It’s one of those things, we felt like it might have been good to take a break at some point down the road and we thought now might be a good time to take it.
“Hopefully it carries over the rest of the year and the playoffs.”
Timonen said missing games was “part of the game.” He didn’t seem too worried about his busted streak, even though it was something he took a lot of pride in.
Timonen’s lower-body injury, which is believed to be a lower-back problem, is nothing new. He’s been skating through tightness and pain for more than 2 seasons, and the rest won’t heal that. Laviolette said Timonen is “probably always at 80 or 90 percent.”
“I’ll tell you this, I don’t think it’s one of those things that will go away,” Timonen said. “We’ll see.”
VORACEK RETURNS: Voracek also skated on the Flyers’ top power play unit at the morning skate. It will be his first game in exactly a week, after being crushed at the blue line by Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall in a hit that left him temporarily unconscious.
Voracek, 23, has 12 goals and 23 assists this season.
“It wasn’t great to sit out 3 games and there was nothing I could do about it,” Voracek said. “After that hit, I’m pretty happy I’m back in a week.”
BRYZ IS BACK: As expected, Ilya Bryzgalov will make his 12th start in the last 13 games after getting a one-game break against the Devils on Sunday night.
He carries a shutout streak of 136:13 into tonight’s game. Bryzgalov has allowed just 2 goals in his last 255 minutes of play. He will face Martin Brodeur, who held the Flyers to just 1 goal on 19 shots on Sunday night in Newark to collect his 650th career win.
MANNING STAYS: It appears that rookie defenseman Brandon Manning, who will likely be scratched against the Devils, will remain with the Flyers’ as their third permanent call-up after the trade deadline. He was an emergency call-up to replace Pavel Kubina last week, but if he remains on the roster once the Flyers have 6 healthy defensemen, he will remain a permanent call-up. Teams are allowed just 4 call-ups after the trde deadline, with the exception of emergency roster replacements due to injury.
LINEUP: Here is the Flyers’ projected lineup, based on the morning skate. Subject to change.
Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Wellwood - Briere - Voracek
Read - Schenn - Simmonds
Talbot - Couturier - Rinaldo
Carle - Timonen
Coburn - Grossmann
Lilja - Gustafsson
Scratches: Jody Shelley (healthy), Brandon Manning (healthy), Pavel Kubina (upper-body, did participate in skate), Andrej Meszaros (lower-body).
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers