As expected, Flyers rookie left winger James van Riemsdyk will not play Thursday night against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
Van Riemsdyk, who played just two shifts after being pushed into the boards midway through the second period Tuesday, did not practice Wednesday or skate Thursday morning, and while he says all concussion tests were negative, the team is taking the cautious approach.
And while he will not play Thursday, there is a good chance JVR (three assists in three games) will return to the lineup Saturday against visiting Anaheim.
Blair Betts, who suffered a dislocated right shoulder Tuesday, will also be missing from Thursday's lineup; he is expected to be sidelined at least a month.
The fourth-line center had been reducing Mike Richards' time on the penalty kill, keeping Richards more fresh in other situations. Richards has five goals, tied for the NHL lead.
In Betts' absence, Claude Giroux, Darroll Powe and Mika Pyorala will probably see more time on the PK.
This is how the lines will probably look Thursday:
First line: Scott Hartnell-Jeff Carter-Danny Briere.
Second line: Simon Gagne-Richards-Pyorala.
Third line: Powe-Giroux-Arron Asham.
Fourth line: Riley Cote-Ian Laperiiere-Dan Carcillo.
D pairings: Chris Pronger-Matt Carle; Kimmo Timonen (quietly off to a strong start)-Braydon Coburn; Ryan Parent-Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.
Goalie: Ray Emery.
Asham and Cote, each of whom were healthy scratches in the first three games, will see their first action Thursday. Ditto Tollefsen, who will replace Danny Syvret because coach John Stevens wants a more physical presence against the Penguins.
The Flyers will have extra motivation; they are facing a Pittsburgh team that erased a 3-0 deficit and scored a stunning 5-3 win in the sixth and final game of last season's playoffs.
It made it a long, hard summer, Carle said, a statement echoed by his teammates.
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About 700 tickets remain for Thursday.......Fans who attend Thursday afternoon's Phillies game can present their tickets at the Wachovia Center box office that night to purchase a $25 ticket to the Flyers-Penguins contest.....The Flyers will be trying to go to 4-0 for the first time since 1995.....Surpisngly, Carle leads the Flyers with six points (one goal, five assists).