The young defensemen are going so well that Alain Vigneault is using them all.
The Flyers coach will play all seven defensemen Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes, a move necessitated by Michael Raffl’s finger injury. He’ll be out for a month. The club brought up forward Mikhail Vorobyev from the AHL, but he’ll be a healthy scratch.
“Sometimes you get into these situations and decisions you have to make that are not easy,” Vigneault said. “I would say for tonight, it’s the way we’re going, and we’ll evaluate this tomorrow.”
Vigneault had expressed a desire to rotate the bottom part of his defense of Phil Myers, Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg, who was scratched the last two games. But the tandem of Myers and Gostisbehere was solid Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Coyotes, coached by Rick Tocchet, enter the game second in the league in goals-against average. The Flyers are sixth. It could be one of those first-team-to-three-goals kind of games.
Brian Elliott will start in net for the Flyers. He’ll be opposed by Darcy Kuemper, who leads the NHL in GAA (1.97) and is second in save percentage (.936).
He said it
“They love their electronics, and that’s OK. I don’t care if you wear jeans and hat — just back-check. You’ve got to back-check if you want to play for me. That’s not negotiable.” — Tocchet on coaching young players