Roberts' status now uncertain for Game 3; Flyers to play without defenseman Coburn
PHILADELPHIA -- An undisclosed illness could prevent left wing Gary Roberts from playing for the Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final at Wachovia Center.
Roberts did not participate in a morning practice. He left the arena around 10:30 a.m. after meeting with team physicians and general manager Ray Shero.
He was originally expected to play, but several team officials said forward Adam Hall was a 50-50 option to be in the lineup. Hall appeared in eight games during the postseason.
Roberts has played in four consecutive games after missing five in a row due to an injured groin. He has not scored since tallying twice in Game 1 of an opening-round series against Ottawa, though he did assist on forward Max Talbot's winner Sunday in Game 2 of this series.
The Penguins lead the best-of-sever Eastern Conference final, 2-0. They have started 3-0 in two previous playoff series during the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Their chances of matching that feat improved when the Flyers ruled out defenseman Braydon Coburn for Game 3. Coburn was injured early in Game 2 when a puck struck him above the left eye. His face remains bruised and his left eye is swollen shut.
Defenseman Ryan Parent will play in Coburn's absence. Parent has not played since April 11 -- Game 1 of the Flyers' opening-round series against Washington.
The Flyers are now without their two top defensemen -- Coburn, and Kimmo Timonen, who is out for the series with a blood clot in his left ankle.
Center Jordan Staal will play for the Penguins, though he will leave the club Wednesday to attend a funeral in Thunder Bay, Ontario, for his grandfather, who died Sunday.
Staal said he will return to the Penguins and play Thursday in Game 4.
"There's nothing I can do about it now," Staal said of his late-grandfather. "He watched all my games growing up. Our whole family is real close. It won't be easy."
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