Still reeling from Wednesday night’s 9-0 loss to the New York Rangers, the Flyers didn’t have their mood brightened much Thursday morning when they received some bad news about defenseman Robert Hagg.
A shoulder injury is expected to sideline Hagg from two to four weeks, according to coach Alain Vigneault.
The coach indicated more time could be added to that prognosis pending further examinations.
“The first evaluation is he hurt his shoulder,’’ Vigneault said during a Thursday afternoon media Zoom call from Uniondale, N.Y. where the Flyers were scheduled to play the Islanders.
“They’re looking at two to four weeks. That’s the first update that we have. He’s with us on the trip. We get a chance when we get back home (Sunday) to have our doctors look at him.’’
The Flyers recalled veteran Nate Prosser from the taxi squad to fill in for Hagg against the Isles.
Vigneault made a number of other changes in the lineup for the game at Nassau Coliseum.
Going into action were Carsen Twarynski, Oskar Lindblom and Nicolas Aube-Kubel (the latter two who were scratched from the Ranger game). They replace Michael Raffl (maintenance day), along with Connor Bunnaman and Andy Andreoff.
Also, Carter Hart, who finished up in relief duty in Wednesday night’s game, was slated to start in goal for the Flyers.
As for the fallout from Wednesday night, the players were aware there was going to be some focus on how they responded.
“Last night was by no means being close to good enough,’’ James van Riemsdyk said. “We know there were lots of mistakes made out there. Tonight is about having a good response.
“Looking back, it’s about some things we were making some mistakes with. Mental mistakes, not sticking with the structure. Doing our jobs within our system, leading to many chances for the other team.’’
>Islanders tough on home ice
The Flyers know they are in for a battle at the Nassau Coliseum for several reasons, the most prominent being the Islanders were entering the game with a 12-0-2 record on home ice this season.
“It’s something we know real well,’’ Vigneault said. “We played against them last year in the playoffs. It was a hard-fought series from both teams, it went to a game seven.
“We know exactly what to expect from them as far as five-on-five play, their 200-foot game. We need to respond. I talked yesterday about having a short memory.’’
Vigneault was looking for a positive response after the Wednesday night drubbing.
“It’s also about responding the right way,’’ he said. “Motivating yourself to go out there and preparing yourself – compete and execute.’’
>Were changes on top lines considered?
While Vigneault did make some moves with the lower lines, he left the top two intact for the Islander game.
He was asked if he considered making any healthy scratches on his upper units.
“We’re having some consistency issues in our game, there’s no doubt about that,’’ Vigneault said. “Some of our players are going from a grade ‘A’ performance to a ‘C’ performance.
“In this league, that’s just not good enough. You can’t always be at your top, with the demands of every individual game. But you can’t have the drop-offs that we’re having as a team right now. We need to be more consistent.’’
>Gostisbehere still on hold
Vigneault said the fact he was holding out Gostisbehere for at least another game was related to the “chances’’ Ghost had to redeem himself from some so-so recent performances, but didn’t.
“Some of our ‘Ds’ need that same opportunity,’’ Vigneault said. “A couple guys had a hard time last night (in particular, Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers, who were both a minus-6) and we’re going to give them the same opportunity.’’
>Each game almost a must-win
Even though there is still half of a season left to play, the Flyers know they can’t fall too far behind the division front-runners.
So games like Thursday night’s provide an opportunity to make a statement.
“We knew going into this year how important every game was,’’ JVR said. “Again, it’s all in your division, it’s all teams you’re jockeying for position with the whole year, so every game has that bigger impact.’’