VOORHEES, N.J. – With their penalty kill unit already struggling, the Flyers took a big hit Tuesday when it was announced Michael Raffl will miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury he suffered in Monday night’s game against Colorado.
Raffl appeared to injure his left foot during a collision along the end boards in the second period and had to be helped off the ice.
Veteran utilityman Corban Knight is likely to take Raffl’s place in the lineup for Thursday night’s game at Boston.
The 29-year-old Raffl, a native of Austria, is now in his sixth season with the Flyers. He has played in 354 games with 64 goals, 116 points and a plus-19.
Knight figures to get much of the penalty kill time normally allotted to Raffl. And that alone should be a challenge the way things are going.
The Flyers are already down to 30th in the NHL in penalty kill at 68.8 percent.
General manager Ron Hextall believes the Flyers have the personnel to cover for the loss of Raffl.
“You lose a player, you lose a player,’’ Hextall said after the team’s practice at the Skate Zone. “Teams lose players. You can’t look at it like that. Someone else is going to go in and get the job done.’’
Knight should be able to fit right in on the penalty kill unit, which features Scott Laughton among others.
Laughton and Knight worked together on the PK two seasons back when the two were on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“If I get in Thursday in Boston, if I kill, I’m going to try to do my best to be as detailed as I can,’’ Knight said. “These guys, they know what they’re doing. It’s just a matter of working out the kinks here.’’
The 28-year-old Knight has spent time with Florida and Calgary, going in and out of the lineup, so he’s no stranger to this role.
“That experience definitely helps,’’ Knight said. Guys who have been in college or junior, they haven’t been scratched. They haven’t had to sit one night.
“So, for me, this is a part of my career I’ve dealt with before. You just kind of learn how to handle it. Make sure you keep yourself ready to go. At any moment in this game there’s an injury. Things happen so quick, you have to be ready to go.’’
Laughton thinks Knight can be a worthy substitute for Raffl.
“He’s a smart player,” Laughton said. “He’s played in the league before. He’s their top penalty killer down there. Tough guy, smart player. If he comes in, he has to step up because Raff was creating pressure on the PK.”