NEW YORK —Joel Farabee was back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s critical game against the New York Islanders. Morgan Frost was scratched.
Farabee skated on a line with Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny. Scott Laughton moved to center a line with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick.
Head coach Alain Vigneault left the first (Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jake Voracek) and fourth lines (Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nic Aube-Kubel intact.
Farabee was cleared to play Monday after missing three games with a nasty stomach virus, but the Flyers opted to hold him back a night with the pending back-to-back trip to Brooklyn.
Farabee’s plan was to KISS.
“Obviously, I haven’t played in a little bit,” he said. “Just have to keep it simple. Not do too much. The first five minutes, the first two shifts: just get the puck in and get the legs moving.”
Konecny admitted to being sore after blocking a career-high five shots on Monday, but said his pain was nothing compared to teammate Robert Hagg. On Saturday, Hagg blocked four shots against the Capitals, including two off the ferocious stick of Alexander Ovechkin.
“Everyone in the locker room knows that’s how you win games,” Konecny said. “It’s not a matter of if you want to or not. It’s mandatory. You have to do it and it was my job [Monday] night.”
“The ones that I took yesterday hurt, but I can imagine the ones [Hagg] took hurt 10 times worse.”
Flyers’ defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere missed Tuesday’s game as he deals with scar tissue buildup in his knee.
The 26-year-old missed four weeks with the knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery and has missed 13 of the last 14 games. Vigneault said the team is hoping to get him back skating in a few days. Gostisbehere returned to the lineup during the team’s 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. After the loss, Vigneault said he regretted throwing Gostisbehere back into action so abruptly instead of giving him a chance to improve his condition in the AHL. The Florida native had just two practices before returning to game action.
His return led to Robert Hagg being a healthy scratch even though the 25-year-old has played well in Gostisbehere’s absence. Hagg returned to the lineup in Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Washington Capitals after Gostisbehere’s knee injury worsened.
“Shayne did not skate again [Tuesday],” Vigneault said. “It’s not a setback or anything, but there’s been some scar tissue with the operation that have given him some pain. So, they’re dealing with the pain. I’m hoping that, [he] should be back skating by Thursday. That’s what we’re looking at at this point."
Vigneault said Gostisbehere has been dealing with the scar tissue since returning, but the pain worsened once he tried to return to his regular workload.
“I think throughout this there’s been some discomfort,” the first-year coach said. “I think the discomfort got a little bit more intense after he had skated a couple of days because, my understanding is, because of the scar tissue that has formed there.
“I talked to him [Tuesday before the Islanders game] at pregame meal and he said everything seemed to be going the right way.”
Hagg has been a productive defenseman for the Flyers this season, and Gostisbehere’s temporary absence gives him more time to make his case to stay in the lineup. Hagg is fifth in the team in blocks with 55 even though he has played in just 36 games.
The Flyers won’t have to worry about facing Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star defenseman Seth Jones during the team’s two meetings in the next week.
The Blue Jackets placed Jones, their best defenseman, on injured reserve Tuesday after he suffered an ankle injury. They entered Tuesday night holding third place in the Metropolitan division with 26 games to play.