Ristolainen makes season debut, Frost back in lineup

Rasmus Ristolainen

ELMONT, N.Y. – After two straight losses, the Flyers decided to make a few changes in their lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Islanders.

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen made his season debut after missing the first 20 games due to injury and center Morgan Frost returned after being scratched for three games.

Rookie right wing Bobby Brink was a healthy scratch.

Scott Laughton said Ristolainen should help by way of his experience.

“I think it’s probably pretty exciting for ‘Risto’ coming back,” Laughton said before the game at UBS Arena. “He missed the first 20 games, it’s tough after a long summer of training. It’s exciting to get him back.

“Obviously, ‘Frosty’ has been out a few games and I think it will be great for him getting back in an offensive role. Give us some juice on the power play.”

>Power play improvement

The Flyers were looking to improve on a power play which had clicked on just four of its last 41 opportunities prior to the Saturday night game.

“I think it’s probably just gripping the stick too tight,” Laughton said. “You think about it a lot. You want to be successful and (have it) make a difference in games. We need to be better on it. I don’t think it’s a secret that it needs to get better. I think guys are aware of that.”

>Back to basics

The Flyers were playing good fundamental hockey during their recent five-game winning streak but seemed to get away from that in losses to the Islanders on Wednesday night and the Rangers on Friday afternoon.

What has to improve?

“Making it tougher for teams getting out of their zone,” Laughton said. “Reloading, tracking. . .I thought we had a couple good chances against New York (Rangers). But we gave them too many high-danger chances and they ended up in the back of our net.

“I’m excited to get back at these guys after a loss here.”

Laughton was asked what could be gained by having just played the Islanders a few days ago.

“I think you know a little bit more about their personnel,” Laughton said. “Especially some of their young guys. Just their system and what they do through the neutral zone. It’s a good test for us. They’re good at blocking shots.”

The Flyers were playing their third game in four nights. The fatigue factor can weigh in but the Isles were in the same boat, having played at Ottawa on Friday.

“We got in here at a pretty decent hour,” Laughton pointed out. “These guys traveled last night, too. Both teams are playing back-to-back.”

>Milestones

Sean Couturier played in his 740th game. He needs one more to tie Bob Kelly and the late Rick MacLeish for seventh on the Flyers’ all-time list. . .Goaltender Carter Hart (90 wins) needs two more to tie Roman Cechmanek and Bob Froese for fifth place in Flyers’ history.

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About Wayne Fish 2338 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.