It appears the Flyers’ top two lines are set for Sunday’s restart against Boston in the round-robin tournament, but coach Alain Vigneault is still searching for continuity in the bottom two units.
“As meaningful as these games are coming up, there’s that balance I need to find,” Vigneault said after Friday’s practice in Toronto. “There were a couple of lines I felt could be a lot better” in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win over Pittsburgh.
During the season, Vigneault said, “you have two, three, four games for somebody to get going. Right now, I don’t believe we have that luxury. At the same time, you do have to give some people [a longer look], but if we feel certain things aren’t panning out like we want to, or some guys are just playing OK, then we’ll make decisions quickly that we have to make for the benefit of the team.”
In Friday’s practice, rookie right winger Nic Aube-Kubel was promoted from the fourth to third line, and Tyler Pitlick dropped from the third to fourth unit. Aube-Kubel was on a line with left winger James van Riemsdyk and center Derek Grant.
Rookie Joel Farabee alternated with Michael Raffl as the fourth-line left winger, with Nate Thompson as the center.
Based on which combinations were on the ice Friday, it appears the Flyers will use Scott Laughton, Kevin Hayes, and Travis Konecny as their second line Sunday. The Flyers were 6-0 when Vigneault put that line together late in the regular season.
Rookies Phil Myers and Aube-Kubel are expected to make their postseason debuts Sunday.
Myers acknowledged he was a little nervous, but was “going to try to treat it like any other game this year. Not change anything. Just get ready the same way. I’m trying to bring that intensity as much as I can.”
Aube-Kubel was counting down the days to the game.
“I’m so excited. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid,” he said. “I’ve loved the playoffs since I was a little kid.”