Without Patrick, Flyers’ scoring out of balance

FFH1112

FLY notes/Patrick, etc. – 11/12

By Wayne Fish

PHILADELPHIA – The good news is the Flyers’ top line of Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek had 60 points heading into Saturday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
The bad news? The other 11 forwards combined had just 46.
Some of that lack of scoring balance can be blamed on the absence of second line center Nolan Patrick, who had been sidelined eight games with an upper-body injury (suspected concussion).
With the No. 2 overall draft pick out of the lineup, the Flyers have had to shuffle their lines. Currently, 33-year-old pivot Valtteri Filppula is filling Patrick’s spot and he does have six goals.
But general manager Ron Hextall, who said he’s “hopeful’’ Patrick can return to practice on Monday, acknowledges the problem extends just beyond the sidelining of the rookie.
“We’re not getting a lot and it’s something we have to get better at,’’ Hextall said in a pre-game press briefing. “We’ve discussed it. Those guys you are referring to, there are a lot of good players there. For whatever reason, the chemistry just hasn’t quite been there.
“They haven’t been getting a ton of breaks. So hopefully they can break through. We need scoring from other parts of our lineup than Couturier’s line.’’
Wayne Simmonds, who’s been hampered by dental problems and a groin issue, scored six goals in his first eight games but none in the last eight heading into Saturday night.
Hextall said Simmonds is “one hundred percent’’ now.
The GM also said defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who’s been sidelined the past nine games with a knee injury, might be able to practice on Monday and will be on the trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg this week.
That said, the Flyers will take a spare defenseman on the two-game trip.
“We’ll probably go with seven,’’ Hextall said. “We’ll wait and see. Six I don’t mind if we’re in Jersey or something but Minny and Winnipeg are a aways away.’’
Would that mean a possible promotion for Sam Morin?
Probably not. He’s been injured and still hasn’t returned to action with the Phantoms. He did skate in warmups last night at Hershey but needs some practices before he can return to game action.
A more likely candidate is Mark Alt.
Hopefully for the Flyers, MacDonald get back soon.
“We’re hoping Mac practices Monday,’’ Hextall said. “We’ll see. He’s been off for a bit too. Mac’s not a guy who takes a long time to get ready to come back to play. He’s still been off for a while so hopefully he gets some good practices in this week.’’

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 453 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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