Flyers Notes: Timonen wanted to finish season

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Flyers Notes: Timonen wanted to finish season

Had the decision been up to him, Kimmo Timonen would have finished the final three games of the Flyers' ill-fated season.
 
It wasn’t.
 
The medical staff made it for him late Monday, informing the 38-year-old defenseman he was being shut down for a compression fracture in his right foot.
 
“He was decimated yesterday when we called and told him,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “He wasn’t in a very good mood this morning. He hates missing games. He is very tough and a competitive player.”
 
Holmgren said the injury had been bothering Timonen for a while but every time the club offered to get a detail MRI of the foot, he backed off.
 
Timonen took a shot off that foot on Feb. 16 at Montreal and it seemed to bother him ever since.
 
Obviously, Timonen, who frequently had a walking boot on at practice, feared the worst of an MRI before finally conceding to one this week.
 
A compression fracture is an indentation that can become a full fracture if not permitted to heal.
 
“The doctors thought where it is, the potential risk of something much worse if he got hit there in the same spot, you’d be asking for trouble,” Holmgren said. “So we shut him down.”
 
When the Flyers' lockout-shortened season began on Jan. 19 against Pittsburgh at the Wells Fargo Center, their starting defense read like this:

Kimmo Timonen-Luke Schenn
Braydon Coburn-Nicklas Grossmann
Andrej Meszaros-Kurtis Foster
 
Of that group, the lone survivors are Schenn and Foster.
 
This was among the biggest reasons why the Flyers' season has been so bloody awful and why they’re not in the playoffs.
 
“Good teams fight through stuff like this,” Holmgren said. “We just didn’t find a way to fight through it.
 
“Is it a factor? Probably. At the same time, you need to fight through things and we didn’t.”
 
Timonen will finish the season having played 45 games with 43 points.
 
Holmgren estimated his recovery time will be 4-5 weeks, but realistically, it’s all spring and summer since the Flyers won’t be in the playoffs.
 
“Losing a guy like Kimmo is tough,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He provided a lot of veteran leadership on this team. A lot of quality minutes. He’s had a really good year for us and played strong.”
 
Timonen has a one-year, $6 million extension into next season.
 
This is Timonen’s seventh injury since 2008-09, although he almost never misses a game and was the club’s reigning “Iron Man” for a couple seasons.
 
Since 2008, he’s had a concussion, chip fracture to his ankle, broken toe, injuries to both feet that did not require surgery, a hip flexor and herniated disk surgery.
 
Call-ups from Phantoms
Andreas Lilja, recalled from the Phantoms, replaced Timonen and played with Erik Gustafsson.
 
The four other Phantoms call-ups did not play: forwards Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson as well as defenseman Matt Konan.
 
Laviolette said even without playing, they can learn just by being here.
 
“No question,” Laviolette said. “You get to practice, you get to work on certain things. You get to experience the games and locker rooms. Those are all valuable things. They’re excited to be here. It’s an opportunity for them to get out and do some work.”
 
Jagr on Voracek
Jaromir Jagr influenced everyone in the Flyers’ locker room last year (see story). But arguably, Jakub Voracek, who shares a hometown with the veteran winger, took the most away from the experience.
 
That’s evident in the big step forward Voracek took this season.
 
Jagr, who hasn’t talked much to Voracek or any other Flyer this season, is impressed with what he’s seen from the young Flyer, however.
 
“It’s all about opportunities,” Jagr said. “When you got opportunity, you have to be ready to grab it when you can, and I think he did it. He’s strong on his skates, he can skate very good.
 
“So right now when he plays with G [Claude Giroux], the more ice time’s coming, the passes are coming, the opportunity is coming and he did a great job to grab the chances.”
 
The fight
Pretty even tussle in this one between Jay Rosehill and Shawn Thornton. Rosehill lost his balance early and fell.
 
“I think I was kind of down even before we got started,” Rosehill said. “I fought him a few times and he's a class guy. He's been doing this for a long time and he knows how to
do it the right way.
 
“He let me back up so we could finish what we started and that's a testament to the way he plays. I appreciate that and maybe next time this will come around my way as well.”
 
Loose pucks
Simon Gagne scored in the final period for his fifth goal. More significantly, it was his 596th career NHL point, moving him closer to 600. ... The Flyers' two goals in the second period were seven seconds apart but that is not a record. The record is six seconds set on Jan. 19, 1985, when the Flyers scored two shorthanded goals by Miroslav Dvorak and Illkka Sinasalo. Also, the last time there were two Flyer goals seven ticks apart was Dec. 27, 1988, on goals from Moe Mantha and Ron Sutter. ... Oliver Lauridsen picked up his first NHL goal. He was plus-3 playing 19:05 and was credited with two shots and two hits. ... Luke Schenn led the Flyers with eight hits and was plus-3 with four blocked shots. ... Rosehill picked up five hits in just 8:34 of ice time.

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Derek Stepan also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots to help New York get past the first round for the fifth time in six years. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series.

The Rangers will face the winner of the Ottawa-Boston series, which the Senators lead 3-2.

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal and Carey Price finished with 20 saves. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. In 2014, it was in the conference finals (see full recap).

Paajarvi's OT goal gives Blues 4-3 win to oust Wild in 5
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime, giving the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Game 5 of their playoff series, eliminating the Wild.

The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues, who led 2-0 and 3-1 before a furious rally by the Wild to try to keep their season alive forced the extra frame.

Paajarvi's first career playoff goal gave Blues coach Mike Yeo the satisfaction of beating the team that fired him a little over a year ago.

Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored to bring the Wild back from their second two-goal hole, a deficit that held past the midpoint of the third period (see full recap).

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

As the Flyers packed up for the offseason much earlier than they had hoped, the focus started shifting to the outlook for 2017-18.

There was some optimism provided by Valtteri Filppula.

It wasn't anything he said. Instead, it was what he did in 20 games.

Make that a full sample size and the Flyers are excited about the possibilities.

Filppula, a well-rounded, 33-year-old center, was acquired at the March 1 trade deadline in the Mark Streit deal. He added five goals and three assists in his 20 games.

"I felt like later in the year, we had more bullets in our gun," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week as the team held exit interviews and cleanout day. "(Jordan) Weal comes in and does a good job. Filppula comes in and really gives us stability. Really upgraded our top nine. So when you're talking 5-on-5 play, just to depend on five or six guys, all of a sudden you have nine guys you can count on."

The Flyers were 27th in the NHL with 128 goals at 5-on-5 -- a significant factor in their postseason absence.

But Filppula should bring more than simply a 5-on-5 boost.

The Flyers desperately needed depth at the center position to relieve some pressure from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Filppula, who came from the Lightning and played seven seasons with the Red Wings -- winning a Stanley Cup in 2008 -- is a sound matchup center and plays on the penalty kill, too.

"I think with Fil coming in this year, it really helped our depth," Giroux said. "He brings a lot to the team. He kills penalties, power plays, very good defensively and he's a smart player. When you bring a guy in like that, you kind of get excited a little bit."

From Filppula's first game on March 2 to the end of the regular season, the Flyers scored 56 goals, 12th most in the NHL over that span and 2.80 per game -- both improvements from their ranking of 21th on the full season and 2.59 per game.

"Now that we feel like we have nine guys that are legit top-nine forwards," Hextall said, "we've got good balance."

Couturier saw immediate benefits when the Flyers acquired Filppula. Couturier started playing with Dale Weise and Brayden Schenn, which turned out to be the team's best line combination to finish the regular season.

"I think it just brought some depth to our lineup," Couturier said of Filppula acquisition. "I had the chance to play after that with Schenn and Weiser and we just found chemistry right away and things went really well."

It provided head coach Dave Hakstol greater flexibility.

"The addition of Val Filppula to our group up front made our group of forwards better," Hakstol said. "Not just his presence, which I think he's an outstanding hockey player, a good hockey player and a real good veteran, but it just allowed some of the others to come together. I think there's real substance there."

The Flyers hope it shows with a full season of Filppula.

"I think when Filppula came in, the balance that seemed to come with him entering our lineup helped us both with and without the puck," Hakstol said. "Will that cohesion help us generate more offensively on an 82-game basis, not just a short-term basis? I think the answers to those things are yes."