Considering that the Flyers have won three straight and have momentum on their side, it’s probably not a good thing that they have five days between games.
Craig Berube, however, is taking a positive look at the break.
"With the injuries, it helps, for sure," the Flyers' coach said, knowing that Andrew MacDonald, Luke Schenn and Michael Raffl are healing and not missing games until the Flyers return Friday against visiting Columbus. "I think it's good, too, because we can work on things. A lot of times, you don't have (practice) time to work on things…and that's important."
The Flyers did not practice Monday, but they will be back at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, preparing for the injury-riddled Blue Jackets.
The disadvantage of a long layoff is that "you lose a little game sharpness, but what we'll try to do in practice is put some game situations in there," Berube said.
The NHL schedule is, in a word, bizarre. The Flyers have five games between games, then play games on back-to-back nights. After hosting the Blue Jackets Friday, the Flyers play in Montreal on Saturday. They then have three nights off before _ you guessed it _ playing games on consecutive nights against the host New York Rangers and Minnesota on Oct. 19-20.
"It is what it is," Berube said.
Hartnell's return Friday will mark the return of veteran winger Scott Hartnell, who was dealt to Columbus in the off-season for R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round draft pick in 2015.
After being told the Flyers were drawing interest from other teams, Hartnell waived his no-trade clause. It was the first deal made by new GM Ron Hextall.
In 14 games, Hartnell has 14 points (five goals, nine assists), third on Columbus, and is minus-7.
Umberger, whose contract ends in a little less than three seasons (two years before Hartnell's), was bothered by injuries late last season in Columbus and is off to a slow start with the Flyers: Three points (one goal, two assists) and a minus-6 rating in 14 games. He has been playing lately on the second line, with Vinny Lecavalier and Chris VandeVelde.
Steve Mason, who has a 1.67 goals-against average and .955 save percentage during the Flyers' three-game winning streak, is expected to face his former Columbus teammates.
Breakaways. The Flyers are third in the NHL in goals scored (3.21) and 20th in goals allowed (2.93). The Penguins (4.15) lead the league in goals per game, and the Blackhawks have allowed the fewest goals per game(1.87)…Jake Voracek, who has points (15) in eight consecutive games, has 22 points in 14 games. Last season, he didn't reach 22 points until Game 35….Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, a South Jersey native who attended Gloucester Catholic, is second among NHL rookies with 12 points and is plus-9. The Flyers don't play the Flames until March 3, at the Wells Fargo Center; they also play in Calgary on March 19.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.