After being a healthy scratch for two straight games, Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn has put together back-to-back strong performances in wins over New Jersey and Carolina.
Did sitting out a couple of games give him a different perspective and help him?
"Uh….not really," Schenn said with a chuckle.
Schenn, whose team will host offensive-minded Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, was benched after being minus-2 in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Ducks on Dec. 3.
"I made a mistake in Anaheim and got taken out of the lineup, but the two games before that against the Rangers and San Jose I felt really, really good," Schenn said. "Whether I'm in or out, I'm just going to continue the same things and try to keep the same mindset _ work hard. If you dwell on being in or out, it's really not going to help you at all. You try to just be a good teammate."
In the last two games, Schenn has blocked a total of 10 shots and been physical around the net.
"Every individual looks better when the team wins," Schenn said.
Coach Craig Berube has liked Schenn's last two games.
"Luke's playing like he can," he said. "He's defending well and moving the puck and getting it up to the forwards. He's making good decisions, and he's a physical player. He does a lot of dirty work out there for us and that's when he's a good player _ blocking shots, defending, being hard on people."
The Flyers are carrying eight veteran defensemen on the roster. On Tuesday, Michael Del Zotto and Carlo Colaiacovo will be healthy scratches.
"Obviously there's going to be a lot of ups and downs, and if you look at the numbers here, it's obviously not a fun situation to be out," Schenn said.
Schenn, acquired for high-scoring winger James Van Riemsdyk in a 2012 deal, admitted to being "caught off guard" when he was made a healthy scratch for a couple games last month.
The second time (he was benched), he said, he wasn't as surprised "because you look at all the D, and it's tough to pick anyone to come out. And when the team is losing like we were, you can't really be surprised by anything. But at the same time, I was itching to get back in."
Phantoms update. The Phantoms are 11-10-4 after a 1-1-1 weekend. Enforcer Zack Stortini had a total of two goals in the three games.
Breakaways. Several Flyers said tonight's game against gifted Tampa Bay was a measuring stick for how far they have progressed. They appear to be facing the Lighting at the right time. Tampa has lost four of its last six games, is playing on back-to-back nights, and is using its backup goalie, Evgeni Nabokov…..Vinny Lecavalier will be a healthy scratch for the seventh straight game……Steve Mason (6-9-4, 2.60 GAA, .918 save percentage) will face the Nabokov (3-4-1, 2.99, .893), who is 10-4 lifetime against the Flyers with a 2.60 GAA and .903 save percentage. Mason does not have good career numbers against Tampa Bay: 1-2-1, 3.25, .850…..The Lightning have won five straight against the Flyers….The Flyers are on a 3-0-2 run, during which Wayne Simmonds has scored five goals….Claude Giroux has won 60.7 percent of his faceoffs (37 of 61) in shorthanded situations….Sean Couturier has a six-game point streak, matching his career high….On their current streak, the Flyers have scored the first goal in four of the five games.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.