The Flyers looked sluggish for the first half of Wednesday night’s game against the high-flying Capitals, so coach Alain Vigneault decided to play bartender. He shortened his bench, shuffled his lines and generated enough of a jolt that his team salvaged a point.
“I was looking for nine workers,” Vigneault explained. “I just thought that was the way to go tonight. Sometimes, certain guys for whatever reason are just a little bit off.”
Joel Farabee, Andy Andreoff, and Carsen Twarynski were the three players whose ice time was cut the most in the Flyers’ shootout loss, 2-1. Farabee and Andreoff played one shift in the third period. Twarynski didn’t play at all.
“Joe was fighting it a bit tonight,” Vigneault said. “That’s a pretty big team and pretty good team with a lot of experience. Sometimes in games, you’ve got to make some decisions. He’ll be right back at it next game. But for tonight, it’s just the way I thought we should go.”
Vigneault’s juggling led to a reunion of the Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek-Michael Raffl line for a good part of the third period. Giroux scored the Flyers’ only goal off a feed from Voracek while on the power play.
Giroux, Voracek, and Raffl have been Flyers teammates for six seasons and were paired together plenty in the past.
“Raffy is a really good player,” Voracek said. “He kind of knows that when me and ‘G’ swings away what he’s got to do.”
How the Flyers groupings generally looked Wednesday night:
The Flyers will visit Ottawa on Friday before coming right back to Philadelphia to take on the Islanders on Sunday. Production from a fourth line — whoever is on it — is a must for them to survive this stretch of three games in four nights.
One line the coaching staff did not dismantle was the trio of Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, and Oskar Lindblom. They didn’t score — though Konecny hit a post in the second period, and Couturier hit another in overtime while playing with Konecny — but they had another solid night Wednesday.
“Sometimes they’re first on the puck or at least they’re creating a battle where if they stay connected, they can get the puck back,” Vigneault said. “That’s why they’ve been so efficient at spending a lot of time in the other team’s end getting a lot of looks.
“We’ve got one line playing that way. I’m working on getting the other ones to play that way, too.”