Pronger making progress; Bob or Boosh?

   Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger was able to shoot the puck at practice Wednesday _ albeit not at full strength _ and continues to make progress as he recovers from surgery to his right hand.

   GM Paul Holmgren said he hopes to have Pronger back for the final two games of the regular season: April 8 in Buffalo, and April 9 against the visiting Islanders.

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    The theme in the Flyers' locker room was this: Sergei Bobrovsky just had an off night in Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss to Washington, so what's ther big deal?


Which coach would you rather have in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

   Veteran goalie Brian Boucher, who has become Bobrovsky's mentor, defended the 22-year-old Russian.

    "The guy has 26 wins this year. We're in first place in the conference. I think we need to pull back and get some perspective here," Boucher said. "As a tandem, we've done a lot of good things, and he's done a lot of good things as a rookie. He just needs to keep reminding himself of that."

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    As is his custom, coach Peter Laviolette would not reveal the starting goalie for Thursday's game against the visiting Penguins.

    In an informal poll of media members, it was 3-3 between Bobrovsky and Boucher getting the nod.

    Bobrovsky is 2-1 against the Penguins this season. The rookie opened the season with a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh. Nine nights later, he dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pens, including an empty-net goal. On Oct. 29, he made 26 saves in another 3-2 win in Pittsburgh.

    In the last meeting between the teams, Boucher defeated the Penguins, 3-2, on Dec. 14 and ended Pittsburgh's 12-game winning streak.

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     Danny Briere on the Penguins, who have hung in the race despite losing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to injuries: "No matter who's in their lineup, they work extremely hard. Maybe they don't have their superstar in there, but they play just as hard and that makes for a very (tough) opponent to play against. We have to make sure we're ready to compete. That's going to be the name of the game."

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 Jeff Carter appeared to jam his hand into the boards Tuesday, but Holmgren said he was fine and that the forward missed practice Wednesday because it was a "maintenance day."

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    Defenseman Nick Boynton played just 5:54 Tuesday, including only 59 seconds after the second period….The Flyers signed free-agent forward Matt Read, 24, who just finished his senior season at Bemidji (Minn.) State, to a 2011-12 contract. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder had 22 goals in 37 games this season....D Danny Syvret was sent back to the Phantoms on Wednesday. He was a healthy scratch after being recalled on Tuesday

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