Saturday, July 4, 2015

Flyers react to Kovy injury

The Flyers seemed unfazed by the news that New Jersey winger Ilya Kovalchuk would miss Tuesday's game, saying it would not affect the way they play in Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers react to Kovy injury

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The Flyers seemed unfazed by the news that New Jersey winger Ilya Kovalchuk would miss Tuesday's game, saying it would not affect the way they play in Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kovalchuk, who scored 37 regular-season goals, is out with what has been reported as a back or groin injury.

"For us, the focus is on what we do, not them," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "He's obvioulsy a good player, but this is the playoffs and whoever they put into the lineup is going to play their hardest. We just have to play our game."

"I don't think we should fall into a trap and think it's going to be easy," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

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There was no word on how long Kovalchuk will be sidelined. The Devils would not reveal the nature of the injury.

"We just try to focus on our game and not think about who they have," Flyers defenseman Nick Grossmann said. "We're not going to change our game."

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who said Kovalchuk was injured midway through the opening round against Florida, said he had "total confidence" in his locker room "and the players that are in that room."

Kovalchuk had an assist but no shots in the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win Sunday in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.

"I didn't think he looked the same," Flyers forward Brayden Schenn said.

 The Devils will apparently not use 5-11, 195-pound Tim Sestito (the brother of the Flyers' Tom) to replace Kovalchuk tonight. He had no points and was minus-5 in 18 regular-season games.

  The Flyers said they would confer with Tom Sestito for a scouting report, but the Devils seem like they are going to move defenseman Peter Harrold to the front line and insert rookie Adam Larsson on defense for his playoff debut.

  "It's the playoffs and it's not (about) them," Kimmo Timonen said, referring to the Devils. "It's US. We have to make sure we play our game and get better starts. Every team has injuries and has good payers out. It doesn't matter to us."

   When the Flyers start a series with two wins, they are 18-0 in the playoffs. When they are 1-1, they have a 17-15 series record.

   And, so, yes, tonight's matchup is rather critical.

  Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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