The player they call “Ghost” was invisible Monday night.
Shayne Gostisbehere, the 26-year-old defenseman, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game when the Flyers hosted Vancouver.
In 22 games, Gostisbehere has just one goal, six points, and a minus-5 rating, and his defense has been sketchy.
“It’s definitely tough, mentally,” Gostisbehere said after Monday’s morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “Obviously you want to be out there helping your team win, but you just have to battle through it.”
Now in his fifth NHL season, Gostisbehere was benched for the first time since his second year in the league.
“When you get taken out of the lineup, it’s not for no reason,” he said. ”I think for myself, I have to get better, work hard, and when I get back in, hopefully I can turn it around.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said he wants Gostisbehere to “reset” his game and added that he will be back in the lineup soon. The earliest would be Wednesday in Columbus.
“I like Ghost. I like what he can bring to our team,” Vigneault said. “I am expecting a little more as far as offensive production. But he’s a good young man. He works hard. It’s just a little reset for him. We play four games in 5 1/2 days, so there’s no doubt he will be in the lineup real soon.”
Gostibehere, who had 65 points in 2017-18, is searching for answers as to why his production has dropped dramatically.
“I’ve never battled this much playing before,” said Gostisbehere, who is healthy. “I’ve got to figure some things out mentally and find a way to be a good teammate as well. Stay positive and get back to it.”
When at his best, Gostisbehere is beating the forecheck, speeding through the neutral zone, and starting a rush that creates a scoring chance.
That hasn’t happened much this season. He also has struggled on the power play.
“When you’re playing with a lot of crap on your mind and have confidence issues, it’s harder to make those plays,” he said. “I just have to reflect on myself and realize how good a player I am. Players like me don’t grow on trees. For myself, I’ve just got to get back to that game.”
Gostisbehere has been doing extra drills with skills coach Angelo Ricci.
“He’s an open book,” said Gostisbehere, who has been working with Ricci on his power moves and “things that make me a dynamic player.”
Robert Hagg, who sat out nine of 10 games before playing in the last three, replaced Gostisbehere.