PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Read
joked that when he saw his name next to Claude Giroux
and Scott Hartnell
on the lineup board for Wednesday's practice that it must have been a mistake.
It's no mistake. Read will get the first chance to skate in place of Jaromir Jagr
on the Flyers' top line Thursday night when Philadelphia hosts the Chicago Blackhawks
Jagr is out for at least a week with a groin injury, opening the door for Read -- the NHL's second-leading rookie goal-scorer -- to move into that spot.
"Matt's a talented guy," said coach Peter Laviolette
. "He's had a good year for us. I don't see much of a problem for him to go up there and fill in for Jaromir."
It's been a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old undrafted rookie. He arrived in camp after signing with the Flyers last spring, and has worked his way up the lineup to a top-six forward spot and earning time on the power-play and penalty-killing units.
"I just enjoy being at the rink, showing up and playing hockey, and just make the most of every day," Read told NHL.com. "Doesn't matter what line I am, I'm sure I'll still have the same mentality, just try to be the hardest-working guy on the ice and just benefit from the players that I'm playing with."
In this case, it's Giroux, the League's second-leading scorer, and Hartnell, second on the team with 17 goals and 35 points.
"I'm excited to play tonight with those guys," he said. "Just try to focus on my game and keep being a hard-working guy and get those two guys the puck. They're top players in the NHL, they're something special. I give them the puck find open areas and I'm going to get it back. Just watch the show with those guys and just try to benefit from them."
Giroux said he's excited to have Read on his line Thursday night because he knows what kind of skill the 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward has.
"He's one of our best players," said Giroux. "I don't know why he's so shocked he's going to be playing lots. He's already playing power play, PK, he's playing on the first three lines. I think he's been playing well for us. I don't understand why he's so shocked. I think he's pretty excited. You can see on the ice he looked pretty excited. He's playing well. Hopefully we can get a quick chemistry together."
Here's how the rest of the Flyers' lineup could look tonight:
- Claude Giroux
- Scott Hartnell
- Danny Briere
- Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk
- Brayden Schenn
- Wayne Simmonds
- Sean Couturier
- Harry Zolnierczyk
- Braydon Coburn
- Marc-Andre Bourdon
- Andreas Lilja
will be back in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky
backing him up.
Forward Jody Shelley
and defenseman Matt Walker
will be healthy scratches.