What to watch as Flyers will look to turn things around in Giroux’s return against Rangers
Lake Tahoe wasn’t fun for the Philadelphia Flyers, obviously. But the Flyers return to ice Wednesday night with Claude Giroux, who’s making his return after COVID. The Flyers will take on the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Here are three things to lookout for as the Flyers will look to end a two-game losing skid:
Attempting to things around
The Flyers will come into Wednesday with a two game losing streak, as well as losing four of their last five.
The Flyers have bounced back with a win both times this season after they have lost two in-a-row and still haven’t dropped three straight since a four-game stretch from Dec. 31-Jan. 7, 2020.
Despite the recent skid, the Flyers have earned points in three of the five games and remain one of the top offense teams in the NHL, averaging 3.40 goals per-game which ranks sixth in the league and leads the East Division.
One of the reasons the Flyers have lost their two, was because they’ve been missing six key players due to COVID protocol. Those players are starting to return as Giroux, who was one of the five forwards on the list, will be making his return tonight.
Giroux returns, Patrick shifted to right wing, Elliot gets the start
The two biggest stories from the Flyers’ practice Tuesday in Voorhees, NJ were the return to the ice of captain Giroux and the shifting of Nolan Patrick from third line center to second line right wing with Kevin Hayes and Giroux.
Giroux, who said he had several tough days but then soon felt a lot better after being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Feb. 9, was removed from the NHL’s COVID protocol list on the earliest possible day (exactly two weeks) after testing positive. The captain will be ready to play for Wednesday’s game. He also took part in an optional morning skate in Voorhees.
Defenseman Justin Braun was also first eligible to be removed from the COVID protocol list on Tuesday, but he needed one extra day. He, too, feels fine now and skated Wednesday morning. However, Braun is not yet ready to play against the Rangers. He will need some practice time, per head coach Alain Vigneault.
Jakub Voracek, whose COVID-19 case is asymptomatic, will very likely exit the protocol list on Thursday and, hopefully, be available for Saturday and Sunday’s games in Buffalo. Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom (who Vigneault said had initial mild symptoms with a positive test but now feels a lot better) are first eligible to come out of the protocol on Saturday. Travis Konecny could exit the protocol as soon as Sunday.
Brian Elliott is the scheduled starter in goal for this game against the Rangers. Vigneault said, however, that he wants to make sure on game day that the veteran feels good to go after experiencing a minor “tweak” a few days ago.
Flyers’ lineup remains quite unappealing
The Flyers will still be without Voracek, Braun, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, and Travis Konecny due to COVID protocol, which keeps their lineup head scratching.
Here’s the projected starting lineup for the Flyers:
James van Riemsdyk – Sean Couturier – Joel Farabee
Claude Giroux – Kevin Hayes – Nolan Patrick
Michael Raffl – Connor Bunnaman – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Carsen Twarynski – Andy Andreoff – Maksim Sushko
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim – Phil Myers
Robert Hägg – Erik Gustafsson