Left winger Simon Gagne's return to the Flyers' lineup was delayed last night.
"He's close. He's real close," coach Peter Laviolette said before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Recovering from hernia and abdominal surgery, Gagne has not played since Oct. 25. Laviolette said Gagne might be in the lineup tomorrow against the New York Rangers.
"He's coming off a surgery and, with his history and everything else, he wants to feel good about being back in the lineup. I think he was just a little tight" in the morning skate, Laviolette said.
Laviolette said injured center Darroll Powe (shoulder) was likely to return next week. The Flyers will host Florida on Monday, play at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, and visit Carolina on Dec. 26.
With Blair Betts back in the lineup last night, Laviolette juggled the lines. Jeff Carter, who had played two games as a right winger on Mike Richards' line, went back to centering another unit.
The lines looked like this:
Richards centering Dan Carcillo and Mika Pyorala.
Carter centering Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere.
Claude Giroux centering James van Riemsdyk and Arron Asham.
Betts centering Jon Kalinski and Ian Laperriere.
Laviolette also changed the first two defensive pairings, putting Braydon Coburn with Chris Pronger, and Kimmo Timonen with Matt Carle.
Pronger and Carle had been together all season.
Opponents used to be intimidated to play in Philly.
No more. The Flyers began last night with a less-than-overwhelming 9-7-1 home record.
Is there uneasiness in the Flyers' locker room because of trade possibilities?
"The mood is not very good. I think that's normal because we're not winning games," Giroux said before the game. "We're not really thinking about [trades]. Hopefully, we can focus on the games."
The Flyers did not allow a shorthanded goal until the final game of the regular season last year. This season, they had already surrendered a league-high six entering last night. . . . Laviolette does not have a specific date in mind for new backup goalie Michael Leighton to get his first start. Best guess: Jan. 6, when the Flyers host Toronto on the first night of back-to-back games. They play at Pittsburgh the next night.
- Sam Carchidi