First Ryan Ellis, now Kevin Hayes.
The Flyers have not had any good fortune whatsoever with players returning from injuries.
Hayes, the club's second-line center, is considered week to week after suffering a reinjury in the Flyers' 2-1 OT win last Tuesday night over the Flames. The 29-year-old was playing in his second game back from an abdominal surgery recovery. Hayes had to undergo the procedure Sept. 21, two days before training camp. It was his second type of abdominal surgery in fewer than four months.
Ellis, the team's prized offseason addition, reinjured himself Nov. 13 in his first game back from a nagging lower-body issue. The top-pair defenseman is out four to six weeks and has played in four games this season.
It originally looked like Hayes had dodged a reinjury. During the second period against Calgary, Hayes got tangled up with the stick of Flames forward Elias Lindholm. Hayes' legs appeared to awkwardly split as his right leg buckled. Hayes limped up the tunnel but was able to return for the third period.
"I was a little in panic mode there but talked to the trainers and figured it out," Hayes said after the game.
Hayes practiced the next day and was on the ice briefly for an optional morning skate before last Thursday night's game. After a mostly unconcerned Alain Vigneault said he expected Hayes to play, the 6-foot-5 pivot did not warm up and missed the Flyers' 4-3 shootout loss to the Lightning.
Like Ellis, Hayes is a critical piece to the Flyers' engine. He's one of the club's top penalty killers and also plays on the power play. Including the playoffs, the Flyers have gone 31-3-2 in games that he has scored a goal.
Meanwhile, the Flyers (8-5-3) need some offensive punch. They've scored 1.80 goals per game in their last 10 outings. Starting Tuesday on the road against the Lightning (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), the Flyers have a stretch of three games in four days. The combined record of the teams they face in those three games is 37-8-6.
At forward, Max Willman is currently filling in on emergency loan, but also keep an eye on prospect Morgan Frost. The playmaking center has three goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
If the Flyers are desperate for an injection of offense — and that may be soon — the 22-year-old could have his number called.
When Hayes was out to start the year, Frost didn't make the Flyers' season-opening roster.
"I just told him to go down there, have a good start to the year," Joel Farabee said in October. "I think that's the biggest thing. If he goes down there and scores his first three or four games, puts up some good points and plays well, I think they'll have no choice."
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