THE SIGNAL that there would be changes to the Flyers' lineup Friday came on Thursday night, when, on the American Hockey League's transaction website, the names Taylor Leier and Nick Cousins appeared.
The Flyers made that move official Friday morning, announcing that Leier, a winger, and Cousins, a center, were swapping spots between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley. It's the first time Cousins is up with the big club after playing 11 games last season.
Cousins slotted in Friday's game on the line Leier played on Wednesday night in Brooklyn, alongside Scott Laughton and Colin McDonald. But for the first time all year, Laughton played left wing and not center.
"Probably the last time he played left wing was back in the World Juniors (2014)," coach Dave Hakstol said before Friday's 3-2 overtime win. "Things haven't come easy for him over the last couple of weeks. Let's change it up a little bit, give him a little different look."
Whatever the look, it helped the Flyers score a go-ahead goal early in the third period. Laughton made strong play along the boards to get the puck out to Evgeny Medvedev, who got the puck through traffic and to the net, where McDonald was able to score on a rebound.
"It's a bunch of little things that players try to build on maybe when things aren't happening easy for them," Hakstol said. "I thought Laughts did that. That's one example. Overall, he simplified his game, but he was a good, hard player for us tonight."
The other notable change came on the defensive end. Medvedev played for the first time after being a healthy scratch the last six contests. Medvedev took the place of Brandon Manning on a pairing with Shayne Gostisbehere and recorded an assist on the McDonald goal
"He's quick," Medvedev said of Gostisbehere, speaking through an interpreter. "We both tried to make quick passes to have more time to make decisions."
Hakstol said before the game he was looking for Medvedev to be better and a little bit "cleaner" in the defensive zone.
"I thought Meddy quietly played well tonight," Hakstol said afterward. "He competed extremely hard. I thought he made the little plays that sometimes don't show up, little 5-, 10-foot breakout passes, plays that are popped to the middle that are difficult to make under pressure, he did a good job."
Michal Neuvirth started in place of Steve Mason, who figures to start Saturday afternoon in New York against the Rangers . . . Michael Del Zotto, who scored his first goal of the season, led the Flyers with 25:34 in time on ice . . . Claude Giroux picked up his 10th and 11th assists . . . The Flyers (8-10-5) have earned at least one point in five of their last seven games . . . The Rangers (16-5-2) fell to the Boston Bruins, 4-3, Friday afternoon, their second-consecutive loss.