Left winger James van Riemsdyk, demoted to the fourth line for most of Tuesday’s game, will be back on the top unit in Thursday night’s matchup against visiting Dallas.
At Thursday’s morning skate, Claude Giroux was back at center and his wingers were van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. Interim coach Scott Gordon plans to use that line in Thursday’s game.
The other expected lines: Sean Couturier centering Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek; Nolan Patrick centering Scott Laughton and Wayne Simmonds; and Phil Varone centering Michael Raffl and Dale Weise.
In Tuesday’s 5-3 loss in Washington, van Riemsdyk was mostly on a fourth line with Varone and Weise.
Gordon met with van Riemsdyk before Tuesday’s game and told him what he expected from him. He later moved him to the top line in the third period.
“We talked again today and had a little more feedback from what I was seeing and what I thought he could do better,” Gordon said after the morning skate in Voorhees.
Van Riemsdyk, 29, has played on all four lines this season.
“When the team isn’t winning games, there are lots of things that get changed around,” said van Riemsdyk, who scored a career-high 36 goals in Toronto last year, but has just six goals in 27 games this season.
Is it unsettling to be moved up and down the lineup?
“It’s part of the things that happen” he said. “Certainly for me, I came from a place where I played with the same guy [center Tyler Bozak] for six years, so it was going to be an adjustment no matter what. It’s stuff that happens all the time through the course of the season. We have lots of good guys to play with on this team.”
The Flyers have lost eight straight entering Thursday’s matchup.
Van Riemsdyk was asked to evaluate his season.
“I think when a team is doing this sort of thing,” he said of its 0-6-2 skid, “I don’t think anyone can be too content with how things are going for themselves personally. Certainly, I’d like to add a little more production. I’m putting my best foot forward and using the same process I always used. You just try to go from there. You continue to dig in and kind of grind at it and go from there. … I feel I definitely can be better.”
Van Riemsdyk said he doesn’t put added pressure on himself because he signed a hefty free-agent contract, $35 million over five years, in the offseason.
“To be honest, that hasn’t affected me at all,” he said. “Obviously, that aspect has never been my motivation to play this game.” The money “hasn’t changed how much effort I’ve put in. I want to be the best player I can be. ... When you sign a bigger contract, that comes with some different sort of things. But as a player, you try to do the things you did to earn that contract and the rest is out of your control.”
Added van Riemsdyk: “I don’t care if I’m playing for the league minimum or $50 million a year. I want to produce.”
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, 20, who has a 2.68 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in seven starts, will face the Stars’ 32-year-old Anton Khudobin (2.52, .924).
Jeff Reese, the former Flyers goalie coach, handles that role for Dallas.