Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flyers Lose Gagne, Carter to Injuries

By: Tim Brennan

After the conclusion of the Flyers huge 4-1 victory over the Devils in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quaterfinals, the Flyers were given some bad news: two of the team's best forwards are going to need surgery. Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter will both undergo right foot surgery on Friday due to different incidents and will more than likely miss the rest of the playoffs. Gagne has been given a time table of possibly three weeks before he can return but Carter's status is long term as he is listed as indefinitely.

Gagne's injury occured during the second period when he stepped in front of a Brian Rolston slapshot, which caught him in a soft spot on his skate and forced him to leave the game. Gagne produced two assists in four games against the Devils. Meanwhile Jeff Carter fractured a bone in his right foot when teammate Chris Pronger fired a slapshot on net that hit Carter and led to the team's 4th goal and his 2nd of the game. Carter had missed eight games near the end of the season for a similar injury to his left foot.

What does this mean for the Broad Street Bullies?

The impact of these injuries will force the Flyers into a position where they need certain players to step up and fill in for the production that will leave the lineup. Although he didn't score until Game 4, Jeff Carter was getting plenty of scoring opportunities and led the team in shots in three of the four games, racking up 17. The frustrated feeling Carter was getting melted into relief when he tallied twice in Game 4 and the Flyers were hoping this would lead to a spike in confidence for the eleventh overall pick in 2003. Carter also led the team in goals and shots, collecting 33 and 319 respectively. Simon Gagne is no slouch either picking up 40 points in 58 regular season games and is always a steady contributor for the Flyers.

The loss of these two forwards means that the pressure will be placed upon sophomore center Claude Giroux and high priced winger Daniel Briere to pick up the slack. There's no doubt that one of the Flyers best players in the playoffs has been Giroux so with increased ice time, look for him to shoot the puck more. Just like Carter, Briere struggled through the first 3 games of the series until a goal and two assists in Game 4 shook him awake and helped the team to a convincing win. Another player that needs to chip in as well is Scott Hartnell who has 0 points and has a -3 rating through 4 games.

The Flyers have a chance to close the series Thursday at the Prudential Center so they need to get offense quick and often to put the Devils away early and move on to the next round.

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