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Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Hello, Shayne Gostisbehere

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Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Hello, Shayne Gostisbehere

VOORHEES, N.J. — With 13 points, Shayne Gostisbehere is tied for the NHL lead among all defensemen.
 
And he's even missed the last three games recovering from an upper-body injury.
 
That goes to show the impact he makes on the Flyers when healthy and himself, which he appears to be again ahead of Saturday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).
 
Gostisbehere took full part in the morning skate and sounds ready to rejoin the Flyers' lineup. However, he is considered a game-time decision, according to head coach Dave Hakstol. The Flyers will dress seven defensemen during pregame warmups and then make a decision on the six to play.
 
Barring some unforeseen setback, though, expect to see Gostisbehere's return.
 
"I'm good," Gostisbehere said. "I feel great.
 
"I believe it's going to be a game-time sort of thing. I feel like I'm ready and we'll see where it's at."
 
If Gostisbehere does play, Hakstol didn't believe he would have to strictly watch the blueliner's minutes. The 24-year-old has been out with an upper-body injury after he was boarded by Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov last Saturday in Toronto.
 
Since then, the Flyers have scored just five goals in three games, including an overtime loss to the NHL-worst Coyotes and a shutout to the Blackhawks. The power play, which Gostisbehere dynamically quarterbacks, is 1 for 6 without him. And despite the defense's gritty effort Thursday in St. Louis, resulting in a 2-0 win over the red-hot Blues, the Flyers desperately need Gostisbehere's presence.
 
Not only for his offense and improved defensive approach, but also for the experience in just his third season. The Flyers suited up four rookies Thursday because of injuries decimating the blue line. With Andrew MacDonald (injured reserve, lower body) and Radko Gudas (day to day, upper body) out, Gostisbehere suddenly becomes the Flyers' defenseman with the most NHL games under his belt at 153, a few more than Brandon Manning's 151.
 
Now, the Flyers should have a critical piece back — baby steps to getting healthy again.
 
Injury updates
Gudas did not partake in the morning skate and it looks like he'll miss his second straight game.
 
Rookie center Nolan Patrick, on the other hand, participated, albeit in a yellow jersey while the rest of the team did so in the usual orange and black practice getups. Patrick, out since Oct. 26 with an upper-body injury and now on IR, did not do much during the skate and departed before it finished.
 
Get the Weal rollin'
Forward Jordan Weal, a true rink rat, was one of the last off the ice, as usual.
 
He prides himself on preparation.
 
"It's the mindset of making sure everything is fine-tuned for when you get to the game, the little plays that you need to make out there, making sure coming off the wall, taking pucks off the boards, that you're feeling comfortable with everything," Weal said. "I've been doing that for a long time. I guess it's a part of the DNA, as well, because I think the more time you put into something, it becomes habit, you don't have to think about it as much. When you don't have to think about the little things out there as much, you can worry about making plays and creating chances for yourself and your line."
 
His line now consists of Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise, the team's third unit.
 
Weal likes the group and will be counted on to make plays.
 
"Both big bodies, both guys that have had a lot of success in the NHL," Weal said. "We're really moving our feet together well and creating chances and opportunities for ourselves. That's what we've got to do."
 
After putting up four points in his first five games, Weal has only one in the past seven. His secondary scoring is important to the Flyers. If he can get things going alongside Lehtera and Weise, two players that have been healthy scratches this season, the Flyers will take it.
 
Quotables
"I knew playing with him down there, I think our whole D core, we had such a good D core that I don't even know if you could tell who was the first pairing and the third pairing, that's just how deep we were. I think anyone could have easily been up here or got called up. I'm not surprised at all that he's up here and doing well."
 
- Travis Sanheim on Mark Alt, teammates at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season
 
"He's got the scoring touch, he's always had it. The puck is just going in for him now. He's a really smart player, so he's good at finding ways to get open, finding the open area … make sure you don't tell him I said he's smart."
 
- Claude Giroux on Sean Couturier

"It's amazing some of the things that he's able to do at that young of an age, yet he's wired in that way."
 
- Hakstol on 20-year-old Ivan Provorov
 
Here is the projected lineup for the Flyers:
 
Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Jordan Weal-Jori Lehtera-Dale Weise
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
 
Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere 
Travis Sanheim-Mark Alt
 
Goalies
Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott
 
Scratches: Forward Matt Read (healthy), and defensemen Radko Gudas (upper body) and Will O'Neill (healthy).

Flyers call up Alex Lyon after Brian Elliott's injury

Flyers call up Alex Lyon after Brian Elliott's injury

Updated: 12:34 p.m.

To no real surprise, the Flyers on Friday morning called up goalie Alex Lyon from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Brian Elliott, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday night's 3-0 loss to the Devils, will miss approximately two weeks.

That should be considered a huge break for the Flyers given the circumstances.

Elliott is 33 years old and underwent core muscle surgery last season. During the third period Thursday, he tried pushing off his left leg to make a possible split and cover the opposite post on a wraparound goal by Kyle Palmieri, but didn't get far in his attempt. He was slow to get up, then started skating right for the bench and tunnel to the dressing room, before head trainer Jim McCrossin could even get to him in net.

Lyon, 25, was the all but certain call-up from the Phantoms. In four games for Lehigh Valley, Lyon, who was injured to open the year, is 2-2-0 with a 3.54 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Filling in for an injured Elliott last season, he held his own over 11 games for the Flyers, going 4-2-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.

Right now, the Flyers' healthy goalies are Calvin Pickard and Lyon. Pickard wasn't in the organization last season and played one NHL game during 2017-18. Lyon has yet to play a game in the NHL this season. Entering Friday, Flyers goalies had an NHL-worst .885 save percentage.

That's where the Flyers are only 19 games into 2018-19.

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After shutout to Devils, Flyers own worst enemy offensively

After shutout to Devils, Flyers own worst enemy offensively

BOX SCORE

It’s hard to gauge what exactly has dipped faster over the past few days.

The outside thermometer or the Flyers' offense, and good luck predicting when either will turn frigid at a moment’s notice.

For the orange and black, the goal-scoring cold spell blanketed the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday and increased in intensity during Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Devils (see observations).  

Hard to make sense coming from a Devils team that had the NHL’s worst road record at 1-7-0, and a defense ranked 29th in goals allowed.

“No, I didn’t see frustration,” Dave Hakstol said. “We competed our tails off tonight. It was a tight hockey game, but we created enough and then some to score goals in this hockey game.”

The return of James van Riemsdyk was expected to inject even more offense into a team that had scored 25 goals over a six-game stretch until Tuesday rolled around. Ironically, it was JVR who actually took away a goal when he brushed into Keith Kinkaid’s glove as he glided in front of the crease just as Shayne Gostisbehere’s power-play shot had found its way into the back of the net.

“The explanation they gave me was pretty funny actually,” van Riemsdyk said. “They said I moved my upper body to get in the way of the goalie. So, I don’t even know what that means. I thought it was outside the crease and I think it’s that grey area where some games that’s a call that maybe goes our way, but tonight, obviously it didn’t.”

Interestingly, Hakstol challenged what appeared to be a rather obvious call to only say it was a miscommunication between himself and the referee.

“It’s goalie interference, by nature I guess,” Hakstol said. “There’s grey area. With the fact that James’ glove hits his glove whether it’s outside the blue paint or where the goaltender is set up before the puck goes into the net.”

Missing the call wasn’t the issue, missing mark was more like it and the Flyers were just inches away from easily scoring three or even four goals. At final count, the Flyers had hit five different posts and perhaps the biggest absence of puck luck came when Wayne Simmonds was staring at a wide-open net to only see Kinkaid’s stick dive into the picture at just the last second.

“I’ve never seen that,” Sean Couturier said. “We had a lot of chances and open nets. The puck just didn’t want to go in tonight.”

Same can’t be said for the Flyers' anemic power play that has converted just three times over its last 43 chances. A couple of posts came during the man advantage but the sample size is now large enough to deeply question everything involved from the setup to puck movement and even shot selection. The top unit has even seen three different personnel units over the past three games.

“Power play needs to get one. It’s very frustrating right now,” Claude Giroux said. “We had some good chances, some good shots. I think if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to score some goals on the power play.”

One can only hope that’s the case, because if not, the Flyers may not have a snowball’s chance over the winter months.

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