OTTAWA _ Brian Boucher will return to the nets when the Flyers play the lowly Senators in Ottawa on Saturday night.
Chris Pronger, bothered by a sore hand, is expected to miss the game and be replaced by Erik Gustafsson, who would make his NHL debut. Pronger skated at practice Saturday morning.
Gustafsson was with the Flyers for five days earlier this season but did not play in any games.
The Flyers are 0-3-2 in Ottawa since 2007. The teams combined for 126 penalty minutes in their meeting last month. Ottawa has dismantled its team since that matchup, trading forwards Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Alex Kovalev, along with goalie Brian Elliott. Recently acquired Craig Anderson is expected to be in goal for the Sens on Saturday.
Flyers penalty-killing whiz Blair Betts will again be sidelined with a lacerated finger, but he is expected to return Thursday against visiting Toronto, which has climbed back into the playoff hunt.
Will winger Nik Zherdev not be a healthy scratch for the eighth straight game Saturday, or will the Flyers decide to dress both Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley because they feel they need a physical presence?
* * *
The Flyers claimed 32-year-old defeenseman Nick Boynton off waivers from Chicago, giving them a replacement for the injured Oskars Bartulis. Hde had eight points in 41 games this season, but has been a healthy scratch for most of the last month.
"I couldn't be happier," said Boynton. "I was a little shocked and didn't realize that I was put on waivers until late last night, but I couldn't ask to be coming to a better team or organization. I've been around the League for a while and I hope to bring that experience, try to work hard and play solid defense and chip in with whatever the team needs."
Boynton, who will join the Flyers on Sunday, is in his 10th full NHL season and made call-up appearances in two others. He has played 595 career NHL games, posting 34 goals and 110 assists for a total of 144 points, along with 858 PIM. He has a career plus-minus rating of +22.
Boynton was acquired by the Blackhawks at last year’s trade deadline and helped Chicago to its Stanley Cup championship. He appeared in three playoff games, one of which was the clinching Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. This year with the Blackhawks, Boynton had a goal and seven assists for eight points in 41 games and was a plus-2.
The Flyers had wanted Boynton to play Saturday in Ottawa, but weather problems prevented his plane from leaving Chicago. That caused the Flyers to keep Gustafsson on the roster for Saturday's game _ and the team loaned James van Riemsdyk to the Phantoms so it would have the maximum 23 players on its roster.
JVR will return in one day. The Flyers could have sent Zherdev to the Phantoms, but they would have risked losing him through re-entry waivers if they tried to recall him.
Boynton is scheduled to join the team at Monday's practice, and the plan is to send Gustaffson back to the Phantoms after Saturday's game.
The Flyers will pay $118,280 of Boynton's pro-rated $500,000. Because the Flyers have a player on the LTIR list, however, his entire salary counts against the cap. The Flyers have about $1.8 million in acquisition space available as Mondayu's trade deadline approaches.
* * *
For constant Flyers updates, follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.
Get exclusive videos and analysis in our new app for iPhone and Android. Download it here.