TAMPA – It was a scary moment when Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim collided with Florida’s Aleksander Barkov midway through Thursday night’s game.
Sanheim, who sustained some sort of lower-body injury in the mishap, was unable to finish the game but there was better news on Friday.
He was back on the ice for practice at TGH Ice Plex and should be ready to play when the Flyers face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) at Amelie Arena.
“I should be good to go tomorrow,’’ Sanheim said. “He (Barkov) kind of landed on me a little weird. I tweaked something.
“I wasn’t quite sure then what the situation was. It (coming out of the game) was kind of precautionary, especially with us being up 4-0 in the third.’’
>Gostisbehere still not ready
The news was not as good for Shayne Gostisbehere, who has missed four games since returning for one game following knee surgery in January.
Gostisbehere, thought to be making progress in two recent practices, is still feeling recurring pain in his left knee and will not play on Saturday.
“It’s tough,’’ Gostisbehere said after skating with the team. “It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s sore, I can’t lie about it. It hurts, so I have to take it day by day.
“Have to take the positives out of it, the boys are rolling. So I’m going to focus on healing up and get back as quick as I can.’’
The one good bit of news is that doctors believe the pain Gostisbehere is feeling simply stems from scar tissue from the surgery breaking up.
“I’ve already had a knee injury (an ACL operation early in his career) – anytime you do, you worry about it for sure,’’ he said. “Only thing I can focus on is getting better.’’
Gostisbehere said he was open to the option of going down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on a rehab assignment.
“For sure,’’ he said. “It would only help the team. I mean, we don’t practice that much. When we do, it’s not the hardest practices. If I have to go down there, obviously it’s something I have to do.’’
Added coach Alain Vigneault: “Ghost is not ready. He did the skate but he could barely push. I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Until that pain leaves and he can get himself back into game condition, he’s not going to be ready to help us.’’
>Hagg on ‘offensive tear’
With “Ghost’’ out, Robert Hagg stays in the lineup. And deservedly so. He’s been blocking shots like a madman, then even scored first NHL power-play goal late in the Florida game.
“Yeah,’’ cracked Carter Hart, who will start his second straight game against the Lightning. “Hagger has a two-game goal streak.’’
Hagg was in good spirits. He’s playing some of his best hockey of the season while Gostisbehere has been out for the better part of a month.
Someone joked and asked Hagg if he made a case to coach Alain Vigneault to stay on the power play.
“Yeah, we had a talk about that,’’ Hagg grinned. “I said Jake (Voracek) needs a heads-up, I’m taking his spot on the half-wall.
“That (power-play appearance) was the first time (in the NHL). The last time I played power play was my first year in the American Hockey League. That was five years ago. I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity.’’
>Tampa offers tough test
Tampa has been the best team in the NHL since Jan. 1 and appears poised to overtake Boston for the Atlantic Division lead.
Lightning stars Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson have all been recovering from injuries of late but that hasn’t stopped Tampa from winning nine games in a row.
All three are listed as possible, which almost definitely means they’re playing.
“Stamkos, Kucherov (and Brayden Point). . .that line is one of the best in hockey,’’ Hart said.
Michael Raffl had similar thoughts.
“They’re the hottest and best team in the league,’’ Raffl said. “It’s a big challenge. Everybody for us has to show up tomorrow.
“They do everything well. They have big, strong ‘D’ (including the third pairing of former Flyers, Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn). All four lines can score.’’
It should be a good measuring stick for the Flyers.
“You’ve got skill, you’ve got a team that can defend,’’ Vigneault said of the Lightning. “We lost to them 1-0 at home and they can do both really well.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I think we have a great opportunity against a team that’s been hot. We’ve been playing well. So we’re going to measure ourselves tomorrow and I expect us to play real well.’’