After a day off to gather for the team holiday skating party, the Flyers were back in action for a full morning skate on Monday. A few items of note revealed themselves during the skate as well as other storylines ahead of tonight's meeting with the Rangers.
* Joel Farabee will make his return to the lineup tonight after serving his three-game suspension handed down by the NHL. He won't be skating on the same line however, the morning skate revealed that he'll be on the left side with Morgan Frost centering and Jake on the right side.
* The shift means that rookie Nicolas Aube-Kubel will be moved up to the second line on the right side with Kevin Hayes center and the red-hot James van Riemsdyk, who has four goals in his last two games.
* The play of the man they call "Q" has been noticed by coach and teammates alike... He led the team in both hits (6) and blocked shots in the Flyers' shootout win over the Senators on Saturday.
VIGNEAULT: "I like his [Aube-Kubel] game. It's pretty much North-South, physical when he gets the opportunity. Defensively he's been in the right position. He's been blocking shots so I like what he's brought for us."
* Ivan Provorov was missing from the morning skate - Vigneault said he is dealing with the same flu his defense partner, Matt Niskanen, dealt with. Although the Flyers head coach said that Provorov told him there's no way he's not playing, Vigneault added that he'll be a game-time decision.
HART START & STREAK
* Carter Hart was first off the ice, and therefor get the call in net. He'll put his six-game home winning streak on the line tonight. During that stretch, he has given up just one goal in five of those six games and has a 1.34 goals against average and .952 save percentage.
* With this being the first meeting of the year against the Blueshirts, it also marks the official first time meeting for former Rangers, Kevin Hayes and head coach Alain Vigneault, who each spent five seasons in the Big Apple.
LINE PLAY - FLYERS
28 Giroux - 14 Couturier - 11 Konecny
25 J. van Riemsdyk - 13 Hayes - 62 Aube-Kubel
49 Farabee - 48 Frost - 93 Voracek
10 Andreoff - 24 Vorobyev - 18 Pitlick
9 Provorov - 15 Niskanen
6 Sanheim - 61 Braun
53 Gostisbehere - 5 Myers
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
* The Rangers, who have had an up and down season thus far, didn't hold a skate this morning due to their back-to-back.
* NYR's victory over Anaheim on Sunday was light in terms of shots on Henrik Lundqvist and head coach David Quinn said afterwards he could turn to Hank for tonight's game. If not it will be Alexandar Georgiev.
* The Rangers are on the outside looking in on the playoff picture at the moment, and certainly recognize just how big a game this is in terms of points in the Metro.
QUINN: "It's big. We can't hide from how big this game is. We want to make the playoffs, and we talk about setting goals for ourselves of making the playoffs -- this is a big game, a four-point game in this situation."
* Second overall pick in last summer's draft, Kappa Kaako, did not play on Sunday after blocking a shot the game before. He is questionable for tonight, with the recently recalled Phillip DiGuiseppe ready to fill in.
LINE PLAY - RANGERS
10 Panarin - 16 Strome - 89 Buchnevich
20 Kreider - 93 Zibanejad - 17 Fast
48 Lemieux - 72 Chytil - 21 Howden
38 Haley - 14 McKegg - 42 Smith
76 Skjei - 8 Trouba
55 Lindgren - 23 Fox
18 Staal - 77 DeAngelo