Lappy close to returning; Carter doubtful for series

Ian Laperriere has been sidelined since April with a brain contusion and mild concussion. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

   The news keeps getting better in Flyersland.

   Gritty right winger Ian Laperriere, who has been sidelined with a brain bruise and concussion since April 22, passed an MRI on Monday morning and participated in the Flyers' practice. He will not play in Game 2 Tuesday against Montreal, but could return later in the conference finals, GM Paul Holmgren said.

    Provided he is cleared to play by four neurologists, it's possible Laperriere will return in Games 3 or 4 in Montreal. Game 5 may be more realistic.

    Center Jeff Carter skated on his own Monday for the first time since he broke his right foot on April 20 against New Jersey. Holmgren said it was "encouraging" but that it was "a stretch" that Carter would return in this series.

     If Laperriere returns, Andreas Nodl _ who has played extremely well _ figures to be a healthy scratch.

     Who gets scratched if Carter returns?

     That's a little trickier because Ville Leino has made it almost impossible for the Flyers to take him out of the lineup.

      Darroll Powe could be the odd man out.

     Again, a lot of things have to happen for Laperriere and especially Carter to return. But if they do, the Flyers' lines could look like this:





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      After allowing three goals in the first 14:10 of Game 7 in Boston, goalie Michael Leighton has not yielded a goal in the last 105:50.

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    When the series shifts to Montreal, the Flyers will show Game 3 (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Game 4 (Saturday at 3 p.m.) on their huge Wachovia Center scoreboard. Admission and parking are free.