The NHL stretch drive traditionally begins right after the trade deadline, and the Flyers need every point they can get as they face an ongoing uphill battle to get into playoff position. On Tuesday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, the Flyers gathered for a brief morning skate before they take on the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center in the evening.
Here are some notes and news from Tuesday's morning skate:
* A regulation win for the Flyers would move them past the Sabres in the standings, while an OT or shootout win for Philly would tie the teams in points.
* Brian Elliott will get the start in goal, as Gordon revealed on Monday.
* New arrival Ryan Hartman joined the team on the ice in the latter part of the session. He will be in the lineup on Tuesday night. A meeting the interim head coach Scott Gordon subsequently took place in order to discuss the right winger's initial role and lineup spot.
HARTMAN: "These things happen quick. You're at one place one moment then the next you're on a flight to Philly, so I was able to get on the ice today after doing some physicals first and got a quick skate in to get ready for tonight."
More from Hartman below [Insert Scrum Video Here]
* The Flyers will dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards for Tuesday's game, according to Gordon. He did not name the forward who would sit out, saying he wanted to speak to the player first. For what it's worth, Phil Varone was the final forward on the ice at the end of the skate.
* Gordon indicated that he planned to give defenseman Travis Sanheim an extended opportunity to play on the second power play unit as part of a three forwards/two defensemen arrangement. With the trade departure of Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier has been moved back onto the first power play unit. Unit two consists of Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny with Ivan Provorov and Sanheim at the points.
GORDON: "I want to give him a look with a little more consistency. We've kind of used hime when time was winding down and with two defensemen, but I'm not a fan of four forwards on the second unit. It can be a bit of chaos when all of sudden you're in the zone and there can be a bit of pressure and next thing you know the puck pops out and the guy could be coming out of the box like it did in Montreal and you've given up a goal you probably shouldn't have."
* The last skater on the ice for the Flyers was Sam Morin, who was recalled on Monday from a conditioning stint with the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms as he navigates the final stages of his recovery from ACL repair surgery last May. On Tuesday, Morin engaged in a full-fledged bag skate to continue working toward getting back his NHL game-ready conditioning. He celebrated the end of the lengthy session by sliding on the ice and laying in the accumulated snow for about 20 seconds before skating to the bench with a big grin.
FLYERS LINE PLAY (subject to change)
28 Giroux - 19 Patrick - 11 Konecny
23 Lindblom - 14 Couturier - 93 Voracek
25 van Riemsdyk - 21 Laughton - 12 Raffl
10 Knight or 44 Varone - 38 Hartman
9 Provorov - 6 Sanheim
53 Gostisbehere - 3 Gudas
8 Hägg - 47 MacDonald
61 Philippe Myers
BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Quote Courtesy: Sabres.com)
* Coming off a 5-3 road loss to Toronto on Monday in which Jack Eichel scored twice in a losing cause, the Sabres are playing for the third time in four nights. As such, the team did not hold a morning skate in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
* Prior to the deadline, the Sabres acquired defenseman Brandon Montour from the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks were in western Canada when the trade went down. Montour did not play on Monday but is expected to make his Sabres debut in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
MONTOUR: "This is the time guys should be excited about. A young team, haven't really been in the playoffs the last little bit here, so it's new. But I've had some experience now in the playoffs and I know we've had some races coming down to it, trying to get in last year."
* Talented young forward Casey Mittelstadt has missed the last two games due to illness. He is officially day-to-day.
* As result, the club has recalled forward Danny O'Regan from the Rochester Americans (AHL)... He has 34 points (18g-16a) in 53 games with the Amerks this season.
SABRES LINE PLAY (based on Monday's lineup)
53 Skinner - 9 Eichel - 29 Pominville
43 Sheary - 71 Rodrigues - 23 Reinhart
72 Thompson - 17 Sobotka - 21 Okposo
20 Wilson - 22 Larsson - 28 Girgensons
26 Dahlin - 4 Bogosian
19 McCabe - 55 Ristolainen
6 Scandella - 48 Hunwick
[40 Carter Hutton]
Likely to play: Brandon Montour (trade acquisition)
Questionable: Casey Mittelstadt (illness)