PHILADELPHIA – Just when you thought the Flyers’ injury situation couldn’t get any worse, it did.
Going into Wednesday night’s game against the New York Rangers, the Flyers already had totaled a whopping 410 man-games lost to injury.
That’s the highest amount since 2011-12 when the walking wounded hit a crazy 440.
After Wednesday’s latest injury report was posted, the Flyers just might eclipse that 440 with some room to spare.
In his pre-game press briefing at the Wells Fargo Center interim head coach Mike Yeo announced the new list: Patrick Brown, upper-body (likely out for the season), Cam Atkinson (lower body), Rasmas Ristolainen (upper body), center Nate Thompson (lower body) and Carter Hart (lower body).
So the Flyers made an emergency call to Lehigh Valley and recalled goalie Felix Sandstrom to sub for Hart along with rookie Egor Zamula to take Ristolainen’s spot on defense and forward Tanner Laczynski to help fill in for the openings created by the loss of Atkinson, Thompson and Brown.
“We’ve got some quality players out, some veteran experience,’’ Yeo said. “But I don’t think the guys coming up care about that. This is an opportunity for them.”
Sandstrom, who played well in his NHL debut back on Dec. 31 when he lost an overtime decision at San Jose, was scheduled to make his second NHL start in goal for the Flyers. He might be around for awhile as Yeo indicated it’s possible Hart’s injury could be serious enough to keep him out for the rest of the season. Hart was injured in the first period of Tuesday night’s 9-2 defeat by the Capitals in Washington.
Meanwhile, Zamula was penciled in on the Flyers’ second defense pairing with Kevin Connauton. The first pairing had Ivan Provorov together with Travis Sanheim. Ronnie Attard, coming off a minus-5 at Washington, was on the third pairing with Keith Yandle.
Laczynski, who has been dealing with hip problems the past two seasons, has played only 22 games for the Phantoms this season (six goals, 14 points). He was set to center the fourth line with Oskar Lindblom and Zack MacEwen.
“He (Laczynski) has been playing well,’’ Yeo said. “He’s a guy we wanted to see at some point.’’
The Rangers are in a battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division so Yeo knew his group had a big hill to climb. Especially in light of the Flyers winning the last time the two teams played at Madison Square Garden.
Plus, the Flyers didn’t look very good at Washington.
“Last night is gone,’’ Yeo said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. But we have a chance to respond today and that’s all we can do. No question we’ve got a young lineup. It’s a tough challenge but they have to embrace it.’’
Yeo planned to use a veteran first line of Kevin Hayes centering Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny. Scott Laughton was in the pivot for Owen Tippett and Noah Cates, with Morgan Frost centering James van Riemsdyk and Bobby Brink.