PHILADELPHIA – Vinny Lecavalier didn’t want to be the one who said it… so he let his coach do the talking.
Widely expected to return to the lineup after dealing with a dreaded lower-body-injury for the past two weeks, Lecavalier, barring tripping over a door jamb on his way into the Wells Fargo Center later this afternoon, will be back for the Flyers after a three game absence.
“It’s looking like that,” Berube said. “He looked good. He’s skating well and moving well.”
Lecavalier returns to a Flyers lineup desperate for offense and does so in a brand new position – right wing.
Lecavalier will play on a revamped top line with center Claude Giroux and rookie Michael Raffl on left wing.
A center virtually his entire career, Lecavalier will play on the right side for the first time, but feels it will be a good mix with Giroux and Raffl and that it can create a good amount of offense.
“I want to be out there and be part of it,” Lecavalier said. “We’re doing some good things. It’s hard to [see it that way] when you are 1-7, but we want to keep pushing and I want to help as much as I can.
“The chances are there, and that’s a positive. I love [playing with Giroux]. He’s a smart player who makes quick little plays. He’s easy to play with. It’s been going really good in practices. When you are with him and you look at the way he thinks out there, he’s special… I want to try to be physical on the puck and be strong in the corners on the puck and if he’s making great plays either me or Raffl has to bury it.”
And the Flyers are possibly getting the right team at the right time tonight in the New York Rangers. A depleted squad, the Rangers have yet to play a home game due to renovations at Madison Square Garden, have injuries to key players like Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin and perhaps most importantly Henrik Lundqvist.
In the process the Rangers are 2-5-0 this season, and like the Flyers have scored just 11 goals (just five in their last four games) and have allowed a whopping 29 goals for the largest negative goal differential in the NHL.
In place of Lundqvist in net is Cam Talbot, a 26-year-old AHL journeyman making his first NHL start.
And while the hectic travel schedule, depleted roster and negative statistics all seem to hurt the Rangers in this matchup, the Flyers aren’t taking this game lightly, especially when it comes to an unfamiliar goalie.
“We got to get shots and traffic at him, rookie goalie or not,” Berube said. “It’s going to be hard like it always is. Nothing changes. You got to get shots and pucks to the net.”
Some other morning skate tidbits:
-Once again Luke Schenn skated longer at the morning practice than any other skater slated to be in the lineup tonight, although he was joined this time by brother Brayden Schenn. Scratches Scott Hartnell, Jay Rosehill, Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill all skated longer.
-Berube said Hartnell is probably still a little bit away from returning. That suggested he would miss the game Saturday in New York against the Islanders. Tuesday against Anaheim seems like a likely return date, if not the following weekend.
-Lundqvist had started 27 of the previous 28 games between the Rangers and Flyers prior to tonight. Recently retired former Flyer Marty Biron had the one other start in goal for the Rangers. As a matter of fact, the last goalie to start a game not named Lundqvist or Biron was Alex Auld on March 6, 2010 in Washington. As for the last goalie not named Lundqvist or Biron to start against the Flyers? How about Steve Valliquette on Oct. 11, 2008.
-Giroux has now gone 14 games (dating back to last season) without a goal. That stretch is the longest of his career.
FLIGHT PLAN NEEDS YOUR HELP!!!!
We are doing a future episode of Flight Plan all about the rivalry between the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As such, we want to compile a list of your most memorable moments in Flyers-Pens history.
We know what some of the popular choices are going to be – the Giroux shift in the 2012 playoffs. The Keith Primeau goal in the fifth overtime. Ron Hextall chasing Rob Brown…
But we want some more. We want to dig them up and show them and talk about them.
So send us those memories between the orange and black and black and gold.
The best way to do it is to Tweet me @InsideTheFlyers or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if we use your moment, we’ll include you in the credits of that Flight Plan episode!
I look forward to your responses.