The Flyers' consistently-revolving group of defensemen lost a player from the rotation on Thursday.
Robert Hagg will be out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered during the Flyers' excruciating 9-0 loss Wednesday night to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The 26-year-old played only 6:12 minutes and did not take the ice in the meaningless third period. He was placed on injured reserve Thursday afternoon.
With Hagg out, head coach Alain Vigneault decided to put Nate Prosser back in the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Islanders. Shayne Gostisbehere sat for a second straight game.
The Flyers were a mess in all phases Wednesday night. When a team surrenders nine goals before the third period, it's on everyone. The club is high on the futures of Philippe Myers and Travis Sanheim, two of its youngest blueliners. Both had games they'll want to flush away and never remember as each had a minus-6 rating.
Vigneault said the Flyers allowed Gostisbehere the chance to play through defensive struggles earlier in the season before they felt the inconsistencies had piled up, leading to these consecutive healthy scratches. Vigneault wants to give his other defensemen the chance to bounce back, as well.
"I felt that the same opportunity that Shayne had as far as being able to redeem himself after a few average performances, I believe that some of our Ds need that same opportunity," Vigneault said before Thursday's game. "A couple of guys had a hard time last night on D; we're going to give them the same opportunity we gave Shayne."
Prosser is a 34-year-old veteran that will keep it simple and help kill penalties. Gostisbehere and Erik Gustafsson are alike in their games: "Gus and Ghost sort of play the same type of game," Vigneault said Wednesday. "Puck-moving, defending is something that they have to stay on top of and both guys can play the power play."
As the Flyers entered Thursday allowing the NHL's third-most goals per game (3.48), the coaching staff likely doesn't see Gostisbehere and Gustafsson as third-pair partners right now.
Gostisbehere and Gustafsson having similar strengths and weaknesses was noteworthy the moment the Flyers signed Gustafsson in the offseason. At the halfway point of the season, it's still a topic and not for good reasons. With an injury to Hagg, one still sits as one plays.
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