LOS ANGELES — Center Scott Laughton hopes the injuries are finally behind him.
Laughton returned to the Flyers’ lineup Tuesday night in Los Angeles after missing seven games because of a groin injury. Earlier this season, he was sidelined for 13 games because of a broken right index finger.
“Just weird injuries,” Laughton said before the Flyers lost to the Kings, 5-3, at the Staples Center.”Not really any contact injuries. I take a puck off the finger and pulled my groin skating off the ice. It’s been a weird year for me, but the team’s been doing really well and feeling good, so we just have to continue to roll here.”
Laughton’s return was a mixed bag. He scored a goal, his fifth in the last nine games he has played, , took four shots, and won 10 of 14 faceoffs (71 percent). But he also took roughing and boarding penalties, and the Kings scored power-play goals on both occasions.
He said it was difficult sitting out so many games.
“I haven’t gone through this in my career,” Laughton said. “It’s tough to watch hockey games, but I wanted to make sure it was all good to go and didn’t want to do anything [to reinjure it]. I feel comfortable and I’m ready to go. Hopefully, I can provide a little bit of energy.”
“He’s a smart hockey player who plays a 200-foot game and kills penalties,” coach Alain Vigneault said before the Flyers slipped to 1-2 on the road trip. “Obviously, we’re real happy he’s back in the lineup.”
Laughton, 25, has played left wing and center this season. On Tuesday, he centered left winger Michael Raffl and right winger Tyler Pitlick on the third line.
Vigneault said the fact that Raffl was coming off a broken finger that may have affected his faceoff ability — he returned to the lineup Sunday in Anaheim — was not why he shifted him from center to left wing. He said he just wanted to give Laughton two experienced wingers on his unit and felt more comfortable with him at center at this point.
The Flyers had won five of their last six games entering Tuesday.
“It’s been by committee. Guys have stepped in and done a really good job, and I think that’s what good teams have to do at this time of the year,” said Laughton, whose team has had a slew of injuries and is now missing Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick. Lindblom has a rare bone cancer, and Patrick has a migraine disorder.
Lindblom will miss the rest of the season, and there is no timetable for when/if Patrick will return.