In Game 3, Timonen only played 29 minutes and 53 seconds.
"Chris Pronger gets a lot of attention, and for good reason when you consider his accomplishments," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette told FanHouse. "But I'm pretty certain Chris and everyone with our team would agree: Kimmo is right up there with Chris when it comes to defensive play.
"Kimmo has been outstanding," continued Laviolette. "I knew he was a good player from coaching in the league. But getting to work with him and see him every day and in every situation, you learn what an excellent all-around defenseman he is."
Much has been made in the series about Jacques Lemaire's luxury of having the lines of either star forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise on the ice for most of the game. Fact is, either Pronger or Timonen are on the ice for the Flyers for just about every second. The 5-10, 195-pound Finn, who turned 35 last month, is the rare combination of defenseman who is equally adept at moving the puck and shutting down opposing forwards. On Sunday, Timonen had an assist on the Flyers' first goal (by Claude Giroux) and was credited with four blocked shots.
Timonen has been one of the league's great quiet players for a while. He played eight seasons with the Nashville Predators and was named captain in his final year. Should the Flyers find a way to win this series against New Jersey, Timonen will have been a big part of it.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on his team's defense in Game 3: "I thought we played a good game when it was 5-on-5. Our defense and our gaps were really good. Our forwards did a great job of chasing pucks. It goes back to our offensive style. When we're pressing on our forecheck, we're not playing in our own end."
Despite coming off a win, Scott Hartnell said his team must learn to play more disciplined. "We took way too many penalties," said the Flyers forward. "We were reaching, slashing. We have to do a better job of staying out of the box the rest of this series."
Devils forward David Clarkson, who double-teamed Mike Richards at the side of the New Jersey net and left Daniel Carcillo open for the winning goal, put all the blame on himself. "I'm just not happy with myself," Clarkson told Tom Gullitti of The Record. "I feel like I lost the game for the team."
No major lineup changes were expected for Game 4 in Philadelphia.
The Story Behind the Story: In the latest example of the changing times in the sports media landscape, The New York Times revealed that the Gannett newspaper chain in New Jersey is publishing coverage during the playoffs written by Eric Marin, an employee of the New Jersey Devils. In a quote likely to stay with him the rest of his career, Asbury Park Press managing editor Hollis Townes defended the decision of his company: "I think journalists get hung up on certain lines of what's ethical more than the readers."