When he needs a winger to get going, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said the other day, he has a simple solution: put him on Sean Couturier’s line.
Joel Farabee, the blossoming 19-year-old left winger, is the latest to benefit from playing alongside Couturier.
“If you stick anybody with Coots, you are going to find chemistry with him,” Farabee said after playing a key role in a 6-3 win Saturday over visiting Colorado.
The rookie has been on Couturier’s line, which includes Jake Voracek, for parts of the last three games, and has two goals and a pair of assists in that span. Farabee is on a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists), the longest of his young career.
Only four teenagers in Flyers history have had a longer point streak than Farabee: Eric Lindros (seven games in 1992; Peter Zezel (six games in 1984); Mike Ricci (six games in 1990); and Couturier (six games in 2012), according to the NHL.
“I think people forget he’s 19 years old. I couldn’t do what he’s doing when I was 19,” said center Kevin Hayes 27. “It’s impressive.”
Farabee’s point streak started since he returned from Lehigh Valley, where he spent one day with the AHL’s Phantoms to give the Flyers enough cap space to recall goalie Alex Lyon to replace the injured Carter Hart.
Farabee, who was quickly recalled after Chris Stewart cleared waivers and was sent to the Phantoms, has looked revived since returning to the Flyers.
“You kind of need a little bit of a kick in the ass sometimes,” Hayes said. “He deserves to be here every single night. He works hard and puts the effort in every day and it’s shown.”
Hayes said it’s an “ego shot” when you aren’t in the lineup. He remembers it happening to him during his second season with the New York Rangers when Vigneault was his coach.
“You want to play every night,” he said. “You want to go to battle with your teammates, and when you don’t, I don’t want to say it’s embarrassing, but it’s a shot to your ego. I think he’s responded fantastically.”
Sitting out the one game, Vigneault believes, helped Farabee reset, mentally and physically.
“He seems like he’s got more energy, more jump, and makes better plays,” Vigneault said.
The All-Star break/bye week, during which the Flyers had nine days between games, also helped because Farabee, who starred as a Boston University freshman last season, isn’t used to playing such a long, grueling schedule.
The break was probably very beneficial for him, Vigneault said, adding that Farabee was “rested and excited” for the stretch run. “He’s been solid with the puck, and solid without the puck.”
In the win over Colorado, Farabee had the first two-goal performance and first game-winning tally of his career. He scored his second goal after a slick spin-around drop pass from Couturier, who made the feed through traffic.
“That pass,” Farabee said, “was ridiculous. I don’t know how he even saw me.”
Couturier also set up Farabee’s first goal Saturday. In 42 games this season, Farabee has seven goals, 18 points, and a plus-3 rating.
The Flyers are on a 6-2-1 run heading into their game Monday in Detroit.
“We just keep rolling like this,” Farabee said, “we’re going to be happy in the end."
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who has missed the last nine games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, could return to the lineup Monday. Gostisbehere has 199 career points. … Detroit has lost eight straight (0-7-1) and has the fewest points (28) in the NHL. The Red Wings (12-37-4) have a staggering minus-98 goal differential, while the Flyers (28-17-7), who have 63 points, are plus-10. … Farabee on his line’s being matched against other teams’ top units: “Obviously they’re good players, but we’re pretty good players, too, so we have the confidence we’re going to beat their best line.”