CHRIS PORTER walked down the tunnel and stepped on the Wells Fargo Center ice at 6:28 p.m. with the rest of the Flyers for pregame warmups last night. At 7:09, he climbed over the boards with linemates Wayne Simmonds and Sam Gagner for his first shift.
At 7:23, he tied the Flyers' preseason game against the Devils at one apiece midway through the first period.
But about seven hours before the game - which the Devils won, 4-2 - and shortly after morning skate ended, Porter and Colin McDonald were placed on waivers as the Flyers get closer to finalizing their regular-season, opening-night roster.
That's got to be strange, right? Playing a game after you've been waived? But it's not the first time for Porter, who had the same thing happen to him in St. Louis.
"It's never a great feeling," Porter said. "But, in the same sense, it's another opportunity to show what you have and leave a lasting impression."
Assuming they both clear waivers, Porter and McDonald will head to Lehigh Valley.
Since NHL teams have 24 hours to claim a player placed on waivers, Porter, 31, was still allowed to play in the game. And with Michael Raffl and Sean Couturier still battling upper-body injuries - both are day-to-day - Porter's presence in the lineup was needed.
McDonald, who turned 31 yesterday, was a healthy scratch, along with fellow forward Vincent Lecavalier and defensemen Radko Gudas and Andrew MacDonald. Goaltender Steve Mason was given the night off, as well.
Porter, like McDonald, was brought in this offseason to add to the Flyers' depth up front. Each had a strong camp and pushed for jobs. Porter, who played for coach Dave Hakstol at the University of North Dakota, stood out a little more, scoring two goals in three games.
"He's had a real good camp," Hakstol said before the game. "He's added something. I've said all the way along, I think he's a good pro and I know he'll go there and he'll do a good job. If we need somebody in that role, we know that he'll be ready."
Both Porter and McDonald have plenty of experience at both the AHL and NHL levels and will be assets with the Phantoms, veteran presences around the younger minor league players. And when the Flyers need a forward, they'll be the first called up.
"Those two guys, I can't say enough," Hakstol said. "Their preparation and compete levels through camp, both of those guys, when you've seen them in exhibition games, they've gone out and done their job. They haven't tried to play a different way. They've gone out and done their job and showed what they are. Every day we want guys to add value. And those guys, they added value."
The Flyers have only one more cut to make to get down to the maximum, 23-man roster.
General manager Ron Hextall said Tuesday that "in a perfect world," the Flyers would open the season with seven defensemen. There are currently 14 forwards, eight defensemen and the two goalies left. If Hextall's perfect world comes to fruition, someone on the back line must go.
Hextall wouldn't discuss any ongoing trade talks Tuesday. All eight defensemen left are on one-way deals. Brandon Manning is a candidate to be waived and sent to Lehigh Valley, but he's had a pretty good camp. Luke Schenn seems like a potential trade chip, but his $3.6 million cap hit is difficult to move.
Something's gotta give.
Perhaps it will be Gudas, the defenseman acquired from Tampa Bay last season for Braydon Coburn. Hakstol said Gudas was rusty early in camp but has gotten better each game. Gudas hasn't played in a regular-season game since last December. He missed the final four months of last season with a right knee injury that required surgery.
Only Scott Laughton, the talented, 21-year-old center, can be sent back to Lehigh Valley without having to be waived. But his coach and general manager have raved about his play, so that seems unlikely.
"He's had, maybe I'm understating it a little bit, I think he's had a real solid camp and that's what we asked of him," Hakstol said. "We asked him to come in, be prepared, be consistent, play a good, two-way game and I think that's where his focus has been and I think he's done a good job of that."
His two-way play could garner him a role once occupied by Sean Couturier as a shutdown, checking-line center.
Michal Neuvirth, who missed Monday's game and Tuesday's practice with a nagging injury, got the start between the pipes. He allowed three goals on 18 shots through two periods, but did not play in the third. Ron Hextall said Neuvirth was sore and was taken out for precautionary reasons. Jason LaBarbera played the third period . . . Canada's TSN Network released its ranking of the top 50 players in the NHL. Flyers captain Claude Giroux checked in at No. 18, down from No. 11 last year. Jakub Voracek, who was unranked last year, ranked 24th. Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Carey Price are the first three, in order . . . Wayne Simmonds scored his second goal of the preseason.