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Chris Pronger may return for Thursday’s game against Ottawa

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders

of the Philadelphia Flyers of the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on December 5, 2010 in Uniondale, New York.

Bruce Bennett

The Flyers have been playing some fantastic hockey of late and now they’re that much closer to getting a key player back in the lineup. Defenseman Chris Pronger is practicing hard with the team this week and is improving quickly. His improvement has gotten so good of late that it’s possible he’ll suit up for Philly on Thursday night against Ottawa.

Pronger won’t be available for their game tomorrow night against Washington, but after visiting with the doctors on Wednesday, that’ll determine whether he’s able to go on Thursday. If he’s not ready by then, the weekend awaits with a game at home against New Jersey on Saturday and NBC’s Game of the Week on Sunday in a Stanley Cup rematch in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

With Pronger out, the Flyers have gotten defensive replacement action from both Oskars Bartulis and Matt Walker. Pronger being out of the lineup since mid-December has done little to slow them down as they’re atop the Eastern Conference with 63 points. With Pronger back in the lineup, however, expect goalies Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky to be the benefactors of his presence.