The line of Sean Couturier centering James van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee has been the Flyers’ most productive unit since it was put together three games ago, combining for five goals and 11 points.
Van Riemsdyk and Couturier “are some of the smartest guys I ever played with,” Farabee said after practice Friday in Voorhees. “I think Reemer has to be up there as one of the smartest guys in the league. It’s pretty easy for me to be able to play with them. They find the soft ice so well and I just try to find them and keep our legs moving. I think when we play fast together, we’re pretty tough to stop.”
In the first 16 games, Farabee, who turned 21 on Thursday, has eight goals – as many as he scored in 52 games during his rookie season last year.
Before Scott Laughton was placed on the COVID list, he centered Farabee and van Riemsdyk, and that line had nine goals, 19 points and a plus-17 rating the four games they were together.
Laughton will return to the lineup Saturday in Buffalo but will center Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek.
Brian Elliott (2.38 GAA, .922 save percentage), who has a 4-1 record, will make consecutive starts for the first time this season Saturday.
Carter Hart (5-3-3, 3.68, .891) will get the call Sunday afternoon, also in Buffalo.
Nolan Patrick said he felt comfortable moving from center to right wing on Wednesday. He will also be at right wing Saturday, and his linemates will again be Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux.
“We kind of read off each other, and I can play there whenever they need me to,” Patrick said. “It wasn’t too tough of a transition. They’re both great players and it’s easy to play with them.”
Health-wise, Patrick said he feels good after missing last season with a migraine disorder. He acknowledged it was difficult regaining his form after such a long layoff.
“It took me a while to find my game, and I feel the last couple games I’ve been trending in the right direction, getting more confident and getting closer to the top of my game,” he said.
On losing Friedman
Alain Vigneault was asked if he regretted exposing defenseman Mark Friedman to other teams and losing him on waivers to the Penguins.
“We knew we were taking a risk, but we wanted the possibility of maybe playing (Nate) Prosser if needed,” Vigneault said. “To do that, we had to make Mark available. He’s a good young player and we wish him nothing but the best. I talked to him after he got picked up and he was excited.”
Wingers Maksim Sushko and Isaac Ratcliffe were sent to the Phantoms. … The Flyers will play a staggering 17 games in March.