Updated: 3:36 p.m.
As expected, the Flyers are getting healthier just in time for the start of their post-NHL All-Star break playoff push.
Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) and Michael Raffl (upper body) practiced Thursday ahead of Friday’s game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Gostisbehere underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Jan. 14. The defenseman’s return would give the Flyers seven healthy blueliners, which may push Robert Hagg out of the lineup. Head coach Alain Vigneault could also go with a matchup-based approach on which defenseman sits moving forward.
It turns out, though, Gostisbehere is not quite ready for Friday. He'll travel to Pittsburgh but won't play. A return Saturday against the Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center is possible (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
“It was something that I had to get done, I couldn’t put it off anymore.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 31, 2020
“It was just tweaking, I think [the final play] finished it off. It was just time.”
- Shayne Gostisbehere after returning to practice following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Jan. 14
Raffl missed the Flyers’ 3-0 win over the Penguins with his injury. His return helps the Flyers’ bottom six and penalty kill.
Flyers at practice:— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 30, 2020
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Tyler Pitlick-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Carter Hart (abdominal strain) has improved but will miss a minimum of seven more days. The news is not alarming. The Flyers announced on Jan. 15 that the goalie would be out two to three weeks, so this is still on line with what the team expected. The Flyers will play it ultra safe with Hart’s injury as he is vital to the team’s postseason chances and, of course, its future.
“Carter’s going to be a few more days, a couple more practices," Vigneault said Thursday. "Carter skated before practice today, felt real good, so slowly but surely, we’re getting a couple of bodies back and we’re on the right track.”
The Flyers called up Alex Lyon and Connor Bunnaman from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The two were sent down to simply stay fresh and play games during the Flyers’ NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30.
According to Hockey-Reference.com, the Flyers have a 47.3 percent chance to make the playoffs. They are three points out of third place in a deep Metropolitan Division and one point out of a wild-card spot.
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