Based on the players used at Wednesday’s Flyers practice in Toronto, rookie winger Joel Farabee will play on the third line Thursday against Washington, and James van Riemsdyk’s lineup spot is in big-time jeopardy.
Michael Raffl, who had a goal and an assist as the fourth-line left winger in Sunday’s 4-1 round-robin win over Boston, will miss the game with an apparent injury to his left leg. He is sidelined indefinitely.
At practice, Nic Aube-Kubel moved to left wing on the third unit, which was centered by Derek Grant, and Farabee was put on the right side. Farabee sat out the victory over Boston.
“I think I’m pretty confident,” said Farabee, who may also be used on the penalty kill. “I’ve been with the team for a little bit now, so it it kind of just feels like another game. We got the exhibition game in [against Pittsburgh] and that helped out my game a bit. I’m excited to play. Obviously, when you miss a game, you’re itching to get back. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Van Riemsdyk, who was ineffective in the win Sunday as the third-line left winger, alternated with rookie Connor Bunnaman on the fourth unit at practice.
Coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t say who would be on the fourth line Thursday.
After playing the Caps, the Flyers will finish the round-robin tournament by facing Tampa Bay on Saturday.
“The three-game phase is about us trying to find the right balance between winning and getting our team ready, anticipating we are going to have a long playoff run,” Vigneault said. “With that in mind, we’re utilizing these games to win and put what we feel is the best lineup that gives us that opportunity.”
In addition to putting Farabee in the lineup, Vigneault said he expected to make one more change among his forwards. That would seem to indicate van Riemsdyk, who had 19 goals in 66 games this season, will sit Thursday.
Vigneault plans to use the same defense as in the win over Boston, but said there was a “good chance” Shayne Gostisbehere and/or Mark Friedman will play against the Lightning.