If the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup playoffs – and their chances look very good – left winger James van Riemsdyk should be ready to return at some point in the opening round.
Van Riemsdyk broke his right index finger blocking a shot early in the Flyers’ 5-2 win in Washington on Wednesday. He will miss four to six weeks, coach Alain Vigneault said.
Vigneault said the injury was similar to the one suffered early in the season by Scott Laughton, who missed four weeks.
Joel Farabee was recalled from the Phantoms and played on the second line Thursday against visiting Carolina, with Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny as his linemates.
“Joel has that top-six upside, and if you want a player to have success, you have to put him in the right role,” Vigneault said before the game. “I think he has that potential. Sometimes as a coach, you go with your feeling."
Farabee, who recently turned 20, had 20 points in 49 games during earlier stints with the Flyers this season.
“We have a lot of faith and confidence in him,” Vigneault said. “It’s just another opportunity for guys to hang in and play well.”
The Flyers took a seven-game winning streak into Thursday.
“I just want to do whatever I can to contribute and keep the train rolling," Farabee said before the game.
Laughton dropped down from the second line to the third line and took van Riemsdyk’s spot. That line included center Derek Grant and Tyler Pitlick.
Grant took van Riemsdyk’s spot on the second power-play unit.
Van Riemsdyk had 19 goals and 40 points. He had five goals and 10 points in his previous 11 games before being injured in the first period Wednesday.
Van Riemsdyk is a much more accomplished scorer than Farabee, who brings more speed and better defense than the veteran.
Farabee was demoted to the Phantoms after the Flyers acquired Grant and Nate Thompson at the trade deadline last month.
“He was playing well for us, but we didn’t want a young player just standing around,” Vigneault said of Farabee.
Farabee was recalled briefly in case Sean Couturier, who was battling the flu, was unable to play last Sunday’s game in New York against the Rangers.
“I thought I was playing and then I saw Coots before the game and he looked pretty good,” Farabee said, smiling. "I was like, ‘I’d rather have him in the lineup than me.’ "
Couturier played in that 5-3 Flyers win and scored a goal.