Flyers

Flyers Notes: Gustafsson takes shot off shin

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Flyers Notes: Gustafsson takes shot off shin

Erik Gustafsson’s hard-luck season continued Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals.
 
The 24-year-old defenseman blocked a shot from Caps winger Eric Fehr at the 7:00 mark of the second period and didn't return.

“He hit me on the [left] shin pad. It’s OK, just a lower-body injury,” Gustafsson said.
 
Asked if he can play Saturday against Ottawa, he replied, “We’ll see. It got treated and we’ll see how fast it goes. I’ll be back sooner than later.”
 
As for pain, he said, “It’s not great, but it could definitely be worse.”
 
He knows worse. Gustafsson previously blocked a shot while playing with the Adirondack Phantoms on Dec. 15, 2012 and missed six weeks with a fracture in his lower right leg.
 
He was finally healthy enough to be called up by the Flyers on Feb. 16.

In seven games now, Gustafsson is averaging 18:47 of ice time and has two assists.
 
“It’s part of the game, stuff happens,” he said.
 
Head hunting
Danny Briere was very unhappy after the game because there was no call on Alex Ovechkin’s attempted elbow to his head midway into the final period.
 
It didn’t land entirely.
 
“Ovechkin, that was a dangerous hit to my head,” Briere said. “I braced to take the hit and he came flying at me.”
 
The Flyers will want that hit reviewed by the league office, especially in light of Harry Zolnierczyk's possible suspension for his five-minute kneeing penalty to Mathieu Perreault that drew a game misconduct in the final 25 seconds.
 
Caps coach Adam Oates said he did not think Harry Z’s hit was dirty.
 
“I think it’s a product of our whole game,” Oates said. “There is 30 seconds left, the game's over and Matty thought he could stick handle through the team.
 
“It’s not what we do, all of us tonight, and guys are sitting there waiting for you and you get hit.”
 
Laviolette agreed.
 
“I think it was a clean, hockey hit,” he said.
 
Stick throwing 'for fun'
It’s becoming something of a habit. Ilya Bryzgalov threw his stick again during the morning skate on Wednesday.
 
He did the same thing three times in a two-day period last week. After the Flyers beat the Capitals, Bryzgalov was asked why.
 
“For fun,” Bryzgalov said simply.
 
Has there been a little frustration?
 
“No, it was for fun,” Bryzgalov said. “I just wanted to.”
 
Do you generally throw the stick for fun?
 
“Oh, once in a while,” Bryzgalov continued. “Sometimes you want something, right? Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you want something badly.”
 
We should point out Laviolette was not amused on Wednesday and let Bryz know that when he skated to the bench after the morning skate.
 
When Bryzgalov finished talking to the media, Scott Hartnell took his place in the locker room. When the subject of the goalie and his stick came up, Hartnell smirked.
 
“He can throw a stick all he wants if he plays like that,” Hartnell said. 
 
Shelley update
Forward Jody Shelley underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a damaged left hip.
 
“His surgery went well,” general manager Paul Holmgren said, adding Shelley is out indefinitely.
 
Shelley is currently on long-term injury, which allowed the Flyers to trade for Simon Gagne on Tuesday.
 
Loose pucks
Among the scouts at the game, three were from Edmonton, including Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe, the Oilers' hockey operations president. ... Mike Knuble was a healthy scratch for the game. ... Nick Grossmann blocked a shot late in the first period but was back on the ice for the end of it. Grossmann recorded seven blocked shots to increase his league-leading season total to 61. ... Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett attended the game. ... The Flyers'  power play was 1 for 6 against Toronto. It rebounded nicely against Washington, going 2 for 3. ... Luke Schenn led the Flyers in ice time (24:36), hits (six), and shots (five). ... Claude Giroux extended his points streak to six games with a goal and an assist. He has four goals and eight assists for 12 points during the streak. He recorded his third consecutive multi-point game and has multiple points in five of the Flyers’ last six games overall. ... Gagne’s goal was his 260th career Flyers goal (regular season).

Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

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Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

Everyone's favorite Flyer is back.

That's right, the team has called up Matt Read from the Phantoms ahead of tonight's game vs. the Predators.

The addition puts the Flyers' roster at the max of 23. For now, Read is likely just an extra forward.

It makes sense to add Read, 31, over a young prospect. General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he will not he will not call a prospect up if he will not get regular playing time. He reiterated as much today (see story). Read provides the Flyers with additional depth — and solid depth at that — but does not require playing time like a younger player would.

Wayne Simmonds, who exited Tuesday's win during the third period, looks slated to play tonight vs. Nashville so don't expect any changes in the lineup or for Read to play tonight, for that matter.

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers (4-2-0) vs. Predators (3-2-1)
7 p.m. on NBCSP, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers felt like they let one go last week against the Nashville Predators.

They'll have a chance at a little redemption Thursday night as the Flyers welcome the defending Western Conference champions to the Wells Fargo Center.

It's Game 3 of the Flyers' five-game homestand, and Game 7 of the season.

Let's get into some thoughts before puck drop.

• The Flyers should be happy to see the Predators again so soon. Last time these teams met, the Flyers had a 5-4 lead turn into a crushing 6-5 loss over the final 1:17 of regulation. How it transpired was wild. The Flyers were done in by two penalties and a failed coach's challenge resulting in a third. A victory would have capped a season-opening four-game road trip at 3-1-0. Credit to the Flyers, though, for moving on and winning the first two games of their extended homestay.

• Speaking of which, the Flyers have been ultra impressive on the homestand thus far. In wins over the Capitals and Panthers, the Flyers have outscored their opponents by a combined 13-3. Claude Giroux has three goals and three assists, Shayne Gostisbehere a goal and four assists, Sean Couturier three goals and an assist, while the penalty kill has been strong (7 for 8) along with the goalies (Brian Elliott, 21 saves on 23 shots faced; Michal Neuvirth, 40 saves on 41 shots faced). The Flyers are seeing their potential when all key phases are executing.

• With a win over Nashville, the Flyers would improve to 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center. The last time they won their first three home games was the 2007-08 season, when they started 6-0 on home ice. A victory would also mark the Flyers' best start through seven games since that same season, when the club opened 6-1-0. Giroux made his NHL debut during the 2007-08 campaign, playing a pair of games in February.

• A huge reason for the Flyers' early success is sustaining energy and skating from the second period to the final buzzer. In fact, it looks like the Flyers take it up notch after the first intermission. They've gotten stronger as the game wears on and the numbers show it. The Flyers have scored the NHL's most second-period goals with 12 and are outscoring the competition, 20-11, in the final two periods.

• It doesn't look like Predators center Nick Bonino (lower body) will play tonight while defenseman Ryan Ellis (knee surgery) remains out and on injured reserve. A player to watch is winger Filip Forsberg, who put up three points (two goals, one assist) in Nashville's 6-5 win over the Flyers last week. That game, which included the winning goal, kick-started a stretch of four markers and four assists in his last four contests. Also, Scott Hartnell is back in town tonight.

• Wayne Simmonds, who missed most of Tuesday's back end of the third period because of a lower-body injury, said Thursday that he's fine.

He's expected in the lineup, as is rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim, who was a healthy scratch the last two games.

And a roster note: Matt Read has been recalled from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, which was expected. The Flyers' roster is now at 23 and he'll be a routine extra.

Here is the Flyers' projected lineup:

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott

Scratches: Forwards Jori Lehtera and Matt Read, and defenseman Brandon Manning.