It’s now or never for the Philadelphia Flyers. Every game is important from here on out. Early on yesterday morning, in preparation for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Capitals, the Flyers hit the ice for not only practice, but photo day. Here are the major takeaways from Flyers practice yesterday morning.
Carter Hart To Make His Return vs Caps:
Its been almost three weeks since Carter Hart last played in a game for the Orange and Black. That will change to night as Flyers Head Coach Scott Gordon announced earlier this week that Hart would make his return Thursday night when the Flyers host the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.
Hart, who made his NHL debut back in December, has been stellar between the pipes for the Flyers. Over the course of the season, hart has compiled a record of 13-8-1 to go along with a 2.79 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. One team he has yet to face in his short career is Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The game plan is still the same for Hart though, as he plans to treat it like any other game.
“Like I said earlier, we go out there and prepare the same. Every game from here on in really matters. I think we have thirteen games left or something like that so we just go out and play the same. We play our game and for us to be successful, like I said, we just have to stick to playing our game and we can’t stray away from it”.
Voracek Suspension Upheld:
The good news was Jake Voracek was on the ice for practice this morning preparing for tomorrow nights game just in case his suspension was lifted. The bad news is that it was upheld which means Voracek will mist tomorrow nights game. He’ll return Friday night when the Flyers take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
Voracek, who was suspended for two games for his illegal hit on Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, wasn’t sure whether or not NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman would over turn the suspension.
Following practice, when asked if he felt he made a good case to over turn the suspension, Voracek responded with a positive answer.
“I had a good feeling about it but I mean they’re not going to tell you how they feel right away right? They have to go over it and make a decision”.
On The Verge Of Making A Call Up?:
It doesn’t sound like the Flyers will go with seven defenseman tomorrow night. Following practice, Flyers Head Coach Scott Gordon talked about the possibility of calling someone up. *Keep in mind the Voracek decision had not been made at the time of the interview.
“I haven’t had any conversations with Chuck about it since Monday, but its definitely something to consider”, said Gordon following practice.
The likely candidate to be called up would be Justin Bailey, who has already played six games with the Orange and Black this season. Despite not cracking the scoresheet, Bailey adds speed to the Flyers and is also a guy who is capable of throwing his body around.
Another possible option could be Nicolas Aube-Kubel who just returned from injury and was the favorite to earn the call up before he got injured. Aube-Kubel, who is in the middle of his fourth season with the Phantoms, played in nine games for the Flyers earlier this year. However, he got limited playing time and was eventually sent back down.
If a call up is made, expect it to come sometime early this morning or early this afternoon. For right now though, the Flyers are short a forward and if they don’t make a call up, they’ll have to go with seven defenseman.
Scott Laughton Is Catching Fire At The Right Time:
Scott Laughton is on fire as of right now. He has three goals over the Flyers last five games, including what ended up being a big goal against the Senators this past Tuesday in which the Flyers came away with two big points.
Secondary scoring is big this time of year. The Flyers sit five points back of a playoff spot with thirteen games remaining and they need every single guy to chip in night in and night out.
“Yeah, it feels nice to get rewarded, said Laughton following practice yesterday morning. “The way I’ve been playing with my linemates and just trying to provide energy and the goals are kind of an extra bonus”.
Obviously the Flyers main focus is winning games, but their is no doubt guys are keeping an eye on other teams to see what they’re up to. As for Laughton, he tends to check the out of town scores but at the same time knows that the Flyers need to take care of their own business first and foremost.
“You definitely look at other teams and see how they’re doing. I think it differs from guy to guy but you gotta take care of your own business and your own game and kind of take it from there. We got a huge stretch coming up and we can’t look past tomorrow”.
The Flyers are back in action tonight as they take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. As of right now, the Flyers sit five points back of the 2nd Wildcard Spot in the Eastern Conference trailing Montreal and Columbus who each have 81 points. Puck Drop is slated for 7PM.
As always, Lets Go Flyers!
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports