Luke Schenn returns to Flyers' lineup; Brandon Manning out
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn will return to the lineup Saturday in Columbus, the same team he was injured against two weeks ago.
Schenn was checked into the boards by Blue Jackets forward Michael Chaput and came down awkwardly on his left foot on Dec. 5.
With Schenn (minus-9) back in the lineup, Brandon Manning (plus-2) will be a healthy scratch Saturday.
"Not an easy decision. Brandon has done a nice job for us," coach Dave Hakstol said after the morning skate. "But it's time to get Luke back in. It's a tough game tonight against a big, strong team in terms of the way Columbus plays down low, so it's a good time for Luke to come back in for us."
Schenn will be paired with the offensive-minded Shayne Gostisbehere for the first time.
"I'm looking forward to it," Schenn said. "I played a year in junior hockey when my partner was Tyson Barrie, so that's kind of a similar comparison for me. They're both really gifted offensively and great skaters and involved in the offense and joining the plays."
"Luke's more of a defensive guy; it's nice to have that in the back of your mind when you're an offensive guy," said Gostisbehere, smiling. "You've got someone to rely on a little bit. Hopefully, I don't give him too many odd-man rushes."
Schenn will play on the right side, shifting Gostisbehere to the left.
"I played the left my whole life until a little bit last year and this year," Gostisbehere said. "It'll be a little different, but I have a good feel for both sides."
Someone asked Schenn if there was less pressure coming back into the lineup when the team was playing well and he wouldn't have to do as much.
"It's not like I'm Claude (Giroux) coming back in the lineup and expected to get the power play going," Schenn cracked. "You just want to quietly come in and go about your business. Do your job and play a simple game."
The Flyers figure to make a roster move Dec. 27,when Mark Streit comes off the injured list and is expected to join the team. When he is added, the Flyers will need to clear about $855,000 in cap space in order to keep Gostisbehere on the roster.
Gostisbehere has six goals and 11 points in 16 games.
"You just have to keep a level head and stay grounded _ and realize I haven't even played 20 games yet," Gostisbehere said.
The Flyers haven't made a decision yet on whether Gostisbehere will stay, but that seems highly likely.
In the off chance they did send him back to the Phantoms, "it wouldn't crush me at all," Gostisbehere said. "Yeah, it would hurt a little bit _ you got a taste, and you want to stay there _ but.... it wouldn't hurt me. It's (about) keeping a good attitude and realizing you can get back here and realizing you showed you can play with them."
From here, the Flyers have several other options than sending Gostisbehere down.
The kid has shown he belongs.
Breakaways. Steve Mason, who has struggled in his career against Columbus, will face his ex-teammates. Mason is coming off a 36-save, 2-0 win over Vancouver........Joonas Korpisalo (3.67 GAA, .893 save percenatge), a 21-year-old rookie, will make his third career start for Columbus....After sitting out a game as a healthy scratch, center Ryan Johansen will return to the lineup. He has 22 points, second on Columbus....Former Flyer Scott Hartnell has nine points in his last seven games....Columbus has won six straight at home against the Flyers since 2008.