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Flyers’ Derick Brassard back in lineup against Caps; showcased for trade?

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Derick Brassard, Philadelphia Flyers
Can third-line center Derick Brassard stay healthy? He returns to the Flyers' lineup Saturday afternoon against the Caps. Photo: Zack Hill.

Philadelphia Flyers center Derick Brassard will return to the lineup Saturday afternoon against Washington at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers hope it’s not like the previous three times he returned from a hip injury this season — and was sidelined after one game on each occasion. He has missed the last five games, and has been unable to play in 31 of the last 34 contests.

Brassard will center the third line, with James van Riemsdyk and Gerry Mayhew as his wingers.

“Derick got through another hard practice today; two hard practices and he said he felt good, so he’s going to be in tomorrow,” interim coach Mike Yeo said after Friday’s session in Voorhees.

The Flyers would like to deal Brassard, 34, before the March 21 trade deadline. When healthy, he has been productive, collecting 11 points and a plus-5 rating in 20 games and helping the penalty-kill and power-play units.

But staying on the ice has been his biggest problem.

The Flyers will also welcome back left winger Joel Farabee (11 goals, 18 points in 33 games), who has missed the last 11 games because of a shoulder injury. The Flyers are 2-7-2 in those games.

“Adding these guys will add to our confidence,” right winger Travis Konecny said, noting the Flyers have been competitive with four elite teams recently, but have faltered at the end of games. “They’re two big guys to add to the lineup, and they’re going to make a difference.”

With Farabee and Brassard returning, Morgan Frost and Max Willman will come out of the lineup.

“That’s what happens; we have competition now, and we didn’t have that before,” said Yeo, who added he was happy with the play of Frost and Willman. “That’s a good thing.”

The Flyers (15-26-10) will be trying to stop a six-game losing streak; they are 0-2-1 on this eight-game homestand, the longest in franchise history.

Washington (28-16-9) started the Flyers’ homestand with a 5-3 comeback win on Feb. 17. In that game, the Capitals scored three late goals in a 2:08 span to erase a 3-2 deficit.

The Caps are coming off Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Washington had a 37-21 shots advantage, but New York goalie Igor Shesterkin stood tall. He had a shutout until Alex Ovechkin scored on a deflection with 64 seconds left.

Ovechkin, 36, has 32 goals and 63 points in 51 games this season.

In 65 career games against the Philadelphia Flyers, Ovechkin has 42 goals and 71 points.

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