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Flyers defenceman Coburn out for Game 4; Pens' Roberts also out

VOORHEES, N.J. - Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Brandon Coburn was ruled out Thursday for a second straight game after his swollen left eye didn't show enough improvement.

Coburn was struck in the face by a puck in the opening minutes of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final last Sunday and sat out Tuesday when the Flyers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins to fall into an 0-3 hole. Coburn didn't break any bones, but severe swelling forced his left eye to close. He was able to practise Wednesday and hoped to play in Game 4.

"He got on the ice a little bit, but still not ready to play," Flyers coach John Stevens said Thursday morning. "I think he's getting closer, but definitely not playing tonight."

The 23-year-old blue-liner escaped serious injury when a shot by Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar deflected off the stick of forward Evgeni Malkin, who was being defended by Coburn, and hit him flush in the face.

"We're not going to put anybody back in the lineup if we don't feel they're ready to play, and clearly that's the case right now," Stevens said. "He's a young kid that wants to play. He's really kind of distraught."

Pittsburgh went into Game 4 without 41-year-old forward Gary Roberts, who sat for a second straight game due to pneumonia. Penguins coach Michel Therrien said Roberts' case was "mild" and that the winger was on medication.

He is listed as day to day.

The Flyers are missing Coburn and another top defenceman Kimmo Timonen, who is likely out the rest of the post-season due to a blood clot in his ankle. If Philadelphia extends this series to a Game 5 on Sunday back in Pittsburgh, Coburn could be back then.

Rookie defenceman Ryan Parent will again take Coburn's place in the lineup.

Stevens made another lineup change Thursday, pulling out rookie forward Steve Downie and replacing him with Patrick Thoresen.



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