DENVER – The Flyers have been playing their best hockey of the season in recent weeks, but they will suddenly have to overcome a series of injuries if they are going to sustain their momentum.
They played Wednesday’s game in Colorado without Oskar Lindblom (upper-body injury) and Travis Konecny (concussion), wingers who share the team lead with 11 goals.
In addition, rookie defenseman Phil Myers (team-best plus-14 rating) was sidelined by back spasms, winger Michael Raffl was out with a broken finger, and center Nolan Patrick has not played all season because of a migraine disorder.
“That’s part of the game,” coach Alain Vigneault said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I really believe that in an 82-game schedule, all teams go through it at some point or another. It’s a great opportunity for some other guys.”
On Wednesday, the Flyers had to recall winger David Kase from the AHL’s Phantoms to replace Lindblom, and seldom-used right winger Chris Stewart also went into the lineup.
The injuries to Lindblom and Konecny, who was leveled by Mark Borowiecki in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Ottawa, forced Vigneault to scramble three of his four lines Wednesday. Only one line – Kevin Hayes centering Scott Laughton and Joel Farabee – remained intact.
The other lines: Sean Couturier centering Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek; Morgan Frost centering James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick; and Misha Vorobyev centering Kase and Stewart.
Vigneault said he “wasn’t quite sure yet” about the seriousness of Lindblom’s injury. Konecny is out indefinitely, Myers is day to day, Raffl will miss about another three weeks, and Patrick is week to week.
Kase, 22, a fifth-round selection in the 2015 draft, had three goals and three assists in 21 games with the Phantoms this season. He is an undersized player who plays with a lot of grit and energy.
“He doesn’t turn the motor off,” said Frost, who was Kase’s teammate with Lehigh Valley earlier this season. “He’s easy to play with because he works really hard.”
On Wednesday, Kase (pronounced kayh-SHEH) became the sixth Flyer to make his NHL debut this season. The others: Carsen Twarynski, Connor Bunnaman, Farabee, German Rubtsov, and Frost.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Kase served as the captain of the Czech Republic team in the 2017 World Juniors. He did not arrive in time for Wednesday’s morning skate in Denver.
“He’s a real smart player with a lot of skills,” said Voracek, a fellow Czech, before the game. “He has good hands and sees the ice very well. Obviously, the size isn’t going to make this guy, but as long as he skates well and can read the game well,” he’ll be fine.
Kase had a question for Voracek when he found out he was being promoted.
“He asked me what he was supposed to pack,” Voracek said with a smile. “I told him I’m a bad packer myself.”
Kase’s brother, Ondrej, is a 24-year-old winger with Anaheim who scored 20 goals for the Ducks in 2017-18.