Initially, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault thought defenseman Phil Myers just had a bad bruise from blocking a shot on Saturday against Buffalo.
It turned out to be much worse.
Prior to Tuesday’s game against Boston, the Flyers announced Myers would miss about four weeks with a fractured patella in his right knee.
If he only misses four weeks, Myers would be back in time for the start of the NHL playoffs. Left winger James van Riemsdyk (broken right index finger ) is also sidelined from blocking a shot, and the Flyers hope he, too, can return for the start of the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 6 and replaced Myers in the Flyers’ 2-0 loss.
Gostisbehere had a strong game, drawing a penalty, playing solid defense, and looking sharp on the second power-play unit.
Vigneault was pleased with Gostisbehere’s play.
“That’s a real tough position to put somebody in,” Vigneault said. “He hadn’t played for a while and I thought his energy level, his execution and his battle level was real good."
With his size, speed and physicality, Myers, 23, had blossomed in the second half of the season. The 6-foot-5 rookie has four goals, 16 points and a plus-17 rating, which is second on the team -- Sean Couturier entered Tuesday at plus-22 -- and second among NHL rookies
Gostisbehere, who turns 27 next month, will get a chance to make his mark.
“I’m excited. Obviously, it’s a good test," Gostisbehere said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “I’ve played like one game in two months. Coming in against the best team in the league, it’s a good test.”
Gostisbehere missed some time because he had arthroscopic knee surgery. In recent weeks, he has been healthy but has been out of the lineup because Vigneault did not want to disrupt the defense’s chemistry.
The Flyers had won nine straight entering Tuesday.
“I’m excited to help this team out, finally,” said Gostisbehere, who began the night with five goals, 12 points, and a minus-3 rating. “They’ve been rolling. I’m just trying to catch a ticket on the train here.”
Gostisbehere was paired with Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim was with Justin Braun. Sanheim had been with Myers, and Braun had been with Hagg.