Derick Brassard out again, Kevin Connauton in as Flyers look to snap 10-game skid
Brassard is the third Flyer to sit out almost immediately after making his return from injury.
LAS VEGAS — One game after returning from injury, Flyers center Derick Brassard will sit out Friday against the Golden Knights.
Coach Mike Yeo said Brassard still felt the lower-body injury he suffered on Nov. 23 during Wednesday’s loss to the Devils. Although he traveled with the team, they determined it would be in his best, long-term interest to sit out.
“So in talking with everybody, just feel it’s best that he doesn’t play and obviously run the risk of having him out for an extended period of time here,” Yeo said.
“So we’ll just continue to discuss that and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Brassard is the third Flyer to sit out immediately after his return from injury. Defenseman Ryan Ellis played one game before being placed on long-term injured reserve , and center Kevin Hayes played two before sitting out another two weeks.
With Brassard out, the lines shifted yet again. Scott Laughton moved up to left wing on the top line, while Oskar Lindblom returned to the fourth line. Max Willman, who was on the fourth line Wednesday night, moved up to the third.
Yeo said he thinks Laughton can bring “speed, tenacity and work ethic” to the top line. He does “all the little things,” which Yeo feels will add to Sean Couturier’s and Travis Konecny’s games.
“We want him to play Scotty Laughton hockey, which is, I feel like, when he plays with bite, when he plays with an edge, when he goes to the net,” Yeo said.
Connauton coming in fresh
After 10 straight losses with the same six defensemen, the Flyers will have a fresh set of legs on the ice against the Golden Knights.
The Flyers claimed Kevin Connauton off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. He did not play against the Devils on Wednesday as he had to gather his stuff, travel to Philadelphia, and pass a physical before meeting the team in Newark to fly to Las Vegas.
Connauton said he was surprised when he heard the news from the Panthers, but he was excited for the opportunity. He didn’t know too much about the Flyers, other than what they’re like as opponents (”They’ve always been a hard team to play against, especially whenever they’re at home,” he said), but there are a few familiar faces on the roster.
Keith Yandle, who he occasionally partnered with in Florida, is his defensive partner on the third line for Friday night.
“It’s nice seeing a familiar face over there,” Connauton said. “He’s obviously a veteran guy, played a ton of games in this league, so he knows what he’s doing. And looking forward to working together out there.”
Connauton also knows Cam Atkinson from his run with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2014-2016. The rest of the roster seems “really good” to him, better than the 10-game skid would suggest.
“Guys aren’t happy with the way things are going right now, but it’s a good opportunity to turn things around and string some wins here,” Connauton said.
Carter Hart will start in net for the Flyers Friday night. ... Jackson Cates joined the team from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after Joel Farabee was placed on injured reserve. He is not in Friday’s lineup but said he hopes that once he hits the ice, he’ll show enough to stay up with the NHL team. ... Former Flyer and current Golden Knight Nolan Patrick is skating again after being injured, although he will not play against his former team.
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