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Flyers put Nolan Patrick on IR, recall 7th D-man

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers' depth has certainly been tested in the early going.

On Tuesday, the team placed rookie center Nolan Patrick (upper-body injury) on IR. Patrick and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (upper-body injury) both skated Tuesday but neither player will be on the Flyers' road trip, which starts Wednesday night in Chicago.

"Status quo," general manager Ron Hextall said after practice Tuesday. "Obviously, it's good that they're on the ice. They're both day to day."

When asked if either player could be available when the team returns home Saturday against Colorado, Hextall said he "didn't want to speculate."

In a corresponding move, the Flyers have recalled Will O'Neill to serve as the seventh defenseman on the trip. O'Neill was on the ice Tuesday morning after getting the call Monday night.

"I'm excited, obviously. Little bit of a long time coming for me," O'Neill said. "It's pretty cool. Like I said, it's the first call I've received like that and I knew that someone was trying to call me so I kind of had a little bit of an idea what it was, but it was pretty cool for a few seconds there."

The 29-year-old blueliner has yet to make his NHL debut. Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers — now the Winnipeg Jets — he spent four years in that organization's minor-league system. After playing one season with the Penguins' AHL affiliate, O'Neill signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Flyers before last season.

"Will's a solid two-way player," Hextall said. "T.J. (Brennan) has been out down there and Will's kind of picked up some of his minutes. He's done a good job for us."

In 56 games in 2016-17 with the Phantoms, O'Neill registered three goals and 28 assists. 

In other injury news, defenseman Samuel Morin was never actually recalled by the team. The 22-year-old apparently hid an injury and was more dinged up than initially thought.

"Our intention was to recall him," Hextall said. "Sam's a tough guy and didn't disclose 100 percent of his injury because he plays through things and he's got a little nick that's going to keep him out here for a bit. Not days. Maybe a couple weeks."

Coots potent on power play
Sean Couturier's offensive game has seen a huge boost since his promotion to the Flyers' first line, centering playmakers Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux.  

Now, the seventh-year centerman has accompanied his linemates on the first power-play unit. The move worked out last night as Couturier lit the lamp on the PP to get the Flyers on the board during a disappointing loss to previously winless Arizona.

"It's been nice," Couturier said. "Get a few good looks in the slot there and a good shot last night. We've only had two or three power plays the last two games so we're still trying to get some chemistry and get a feel of it but so far it's good."

Couturier has been known as a defensive stalwart in the middle for the Flyers but is already up to nine goals this season. Being surrounded by the likes of Giroux and Voracek, Couturier is well on his way to surpassing his career high of 15 goals. 

"He's a big body. He's got a good presence around the net," Giroux said. "He's pretty hot right now. Anytime it looks like he has a chance to score right now it's going in. He's playing some good hockey right now."

Provy's the man
Young defenseman Ivan Provorov has seen his time on ice increase in each of the last four games. Last night, the 20-year-old blueliner received a career-high 28:07 of ice time.

Provorov seemed up for the challenge, recording three assists and making an unbelievable play at the blue line to set up the game-tying goal with time running out in the third.

Is Hextall concerned about Provorov's workload?

"Well, you monitor everything on a day-to-day basis," Hextall said. "We're aware of it and we're keeping track of it but Ivan is geared to handle a lot of minutes the way he plays. He's in great shape. His body's built for it. In saying that, he still is a young guy and we'll stay on it on a day-to-day basis."