THROUGHOUT THE games he's sat as a healthy scratch, Luke Schenn maintained a positive mindset.
"At the end of the day, when you look back on your career, I don't think it's, for anyone, smooth sailing [the whole way through]," the 25-year-old defenseman had said after skating in the team's optional practice on Wednesday.
"That's what makes the story good when you're done, the ups and downs and the way you continue to push through it. If there's any quit, you'd never even be in this situation to begin with because this isn't the first time and you know it's not going to be the last time."
Schenn, who watched from the press box in Los Angeles on Saturday and Columbus on Tuesday, returned to the lineup for last night's 4-1 victory over the Devils. He logged 16:36 in ice time and was a plus-1. Schenn replaced Michael Del Zotto, a healthy scratch in two previous games on the just-completed, five-game road trip, and was paired with Andrew MacDonald.
Though he opted to keep his four forward lines the same (Vincent Lecavalier sat for a fifth consecutive game), Flyers coach Craig Berube said, "I don't want somebody sitting out too long" when asked about Schenn, whom the coach explained was a good fit to last night defend New Jersey's personnel.
"Luke's just got to move the puck and be simple and play a hard game," Berube said before the game. "Play a good, defensive game, be physical [and] be strong at our net. Kill penalties."
Schenn entered last night with the worst plus/minus (minus-12) of the Flyers' eight healthy defensemen. He's played in 21 of 28 games this season after missing only three games all of last season and only one in his first year with Philadelphia, the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
"Being negative about stuff is only going to make things worse, so [I] try to continue to have a good attitude and be positive and work hard," Schenn said before the game. "At the end of the day, you play this game for your teammates, and you obviously want to be out there helping the team win."
With the once-depleted defense corps now healthy, that sixth spot on the Flyers' defense remains fluid, Schenn and Del Zotto seemingly taking turns as the odd man out in a numbers game. Carlo Colaiacovo, signed Oct. 30 amid a deluge of injuries, was a healthy scratch last night for the 11th straight game.
Steve Mason will have to wait until Jan. 3 or March 8 to get the next chance at his first career win against the Devils.
After Mason started the final four games of the Flyers' road trip, Ray Emery got the nod for last night's game against New Jersey. It was only the fourth start in the Flyers' last 18 games for the No. 2 goaltender.
The Devils are the only NHL team Mason, 26, has yet to beat in his NHL career. He is 0-5 with a .871 save percentage and a 3.64 goals-against average in five career starts against New Jersey.
Mason has a 2.35 goals against average and a .921 save percentage over his last eight starts, only two of which the Flyers won.
One of the Flyers had some fun at defenseman Mark Streit's expense yesterday. After the team's morning skate, a message on a white board in the dressing room read: "Happy 42nd B. Day Mark." Streit turned 37 yesterday . . . Last night was the Devils' NHL-leading 19th road game of the season.