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Radko Gudas returning to Flyers' lineup; Del Zotto likely to sit

After missing three games with the flu, rugged defenseman Radko Gudas will return to the Flyers' lineup Thursday against visiting Edmonton and Connor McDavid.

"Can't wait to get back in," Gudas said after Wednesday's practice in Voorhees.  "It was tough not being in there."

Based on Wednesday's practice, Michael Del Zotto will be a healthy scratch to make room for Gudas.

Del Zotto had three hits and four blocked shots while playing 22 minutes, three seconds in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win over Florida. In six games since returning from a benching, he has two goals, two assists and a minus-1 rating.

"It's really difficult," Hakstol said of deciding who comes out of the lineup. "We've been in that situation really since Day 1 coming out of training camp and our group continues to stay together and work hard -- and that's all that you can ask for.

"The group has done a good job. You look at some of the battles that we've been in the last week, it's by a committee, a group of six that we've had success with and that will continue regardless."

The Flyers have won six straight, their longest streak in five years. They escaped with Tuesday's overtime win despite being outshot, 44-25.

Goalie Steve Mason bailed them out.

"We have to be better with the puck tomorrow," Hakstol said. "We didn't do enough when we had the puck. Gave it up a little too easily and because of that, you end up playing defense a lot of the night."

Hakstol downplayed rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov's expected matchup Thursday against the speedy, gifted McDavid.

"I wouldn't call it a measuring stick," the second-year coach said. "He and Mac (Andrew MacDonald) had a lot of time last night against the (Aleksander) Barkov line. That's a big challenge, and there's no question they did a good job there. But it's not one or two guys; it's the group of five that's playing against any one unit."

Hakstol didn't announce it, but the sizzling Mason will start for the 12th time in the last 13 games.