Key injuries could seal Flyers’ fate in next round

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First, it was Simon Gagne.

Then, it was Jeff Carter.

Yesterday, add Ian Laperriere to that lengthy injury list for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers were informed yesterday by doctors that Laperriere had suffered a mild concussion and a brain contusion to go along with his already broken orbital bone as a result of blocking a shot in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against New Jersey.

The 36 year-old forward will miss the rest of the playoffs but was told he will make a full recovery for next season. Although, Laperriere said it would take a ‘little miracle’ for him to return if the Flyers make the cup, but realistically, he will happily stand aside and play cheerleader.

“They don’t want any bleeding in [my brain]. If you start bleeding in your brain it’s not good,” Laperriere said. “We’re hockey players and take pride in playing through injuries, but that’s one thing I just can’t afford to do for the sake of my family. Trust me, I want to be out there. I’m mad about that.”

Gagne, on the other hand, will most likely be the only player of the three to return to the lineup to contribute. Gagne, had two screws inserted into his fractured big right toe, has been told he could make a return late in the second round.

To have Gagne back would create a huge lift for the Flyers, especially on the PK given the loss of Laperriere for the rest of the playoffs.

Tonight, the Flyers will finally find out who they will be facing in the Quarterfinals whether it be the Washington Capitals or the Boston Bruins. Either or, the Flyers are going to have problems to overcome.

It’s not easy to over one key injury let alone three. Even tougher being that the injured three are all key players, with two being superstar quality in both Gagne and Carter.

There is no more room for error with this team. Players like Scott Hartnell have to somehow find the game he didn’t throughout the entire regular season. The Flyers will continue to lean on Hartnell hoping that he will gain some quick confidence and be what Mike Knuble was to this club.  Captain Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Danny Briere have to present the same scoring touch they provided in their round one domination of the Devils.

Giroux showed beginnings of a superstar in that first round win. He played like a modern Peter Forsberg almost. Crisp passing and actually shooting the puck proved to be what the doctor ordered for the Flyers. The club tried all season to get Giroux to shoot the puck more, now we know why.

With Richards, much of the same will be a must in this next round. Richards leads the Flyers with eight playoff points(2G,6A) and was hands down the most effective player on the ice every shift he played. Head coach Peter Laviolette will probably look for a little extra on the PK from Richards with Lappy gone, but that shouldn’t affect Richards’ overall play.

Briere found a bit of his scoring touch playing with Giroux against the Devils. It would be extremely beneficial if the Flyers can have a determined Briere controlling that second line with Ville Leino and Hartnell around him.

Whatever the case, the Flyers have to utilize the days they had off and come into the second series with as much or more desperation than they did against New Jersey.

Game 1 news:

Regardless of who the Flyers end up facing, game one will be an NBC game this Saturday at 12:30.

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