The Philadelphia Flyers are rested and hoping to turn the page in a new month.
Their dreadful month of March ended at rock bottom with a loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Now, with two days off behind them, they’ll get a few key young players back in the lineup for the home stretch.
Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick back after a break
Both Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick were kept out of the lineup on Wednesday to rest and reset. Alain Vigneault wanted to give both players a few days to reset, and the Flyers’ back-to-back days without a game allowed them almost 72 hours to do just that.
“Both are going to play tomorrow,” Vigneault said after practice on Friday. “It’s almost 72 hours between the last time they skated until today. They had –– other than come in to test yesterday –– they had a total day off, so I’m hoping it was a time for them to get refreshed mentally and physically, and they’ll be able to help us here in the final push for the playoffs and be good contributors for us.”
“Hopefully this little breather that we were able to give them will benefit them and benefit our team here moving forward,” Vigneault concluded.
“I think it’s mostly mentally, just to get off the ice and relax and recover,” Lindblom said of the few days off. “That’s important and that’s a part I’ve been working on the whole season … I’ll take every day I can and recover the best I can.”
Carter Hart between the pipes
Not only will Lindblom and Patrick get back into the lineup, but Carter Hart will as well. The young netminder had two full games off to focus on practicing.
“He needs to work on his game. He needs to work harder. He needs to work better,” Vigneault said of Hart on Monday. “I had a good conversation with him and Kim about my expectations about his practice habits and him stopping the puck. We were able to work with him yesterday –– just like our team, everyone benefits from good practices ––, and Carter’s gonna benefit from practicing here.”
The Flyers have a crucial stretch of games coming up to turn things around if it’s not already too late. They are three points behind the Bruins, but Boston has two games in hand. However, the Flyers and Bruins play each other three times in six days from Monday to Saturday this coming week.
If the Flyers figure out the Bruins, an ugly March will be put behind them. If not, the Flyers will continue spiraling downwards and definitely be sellers at the trade deadline.
The Flyers return to action on Saturday night on Long Island. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET between the Flyers and Islanders.
Photo: Heather Barry Images