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Change puts Schenn in good position

Brayden Schenn dropped lines and changed positions in Sunday's 5-3 win over Calgary, but he and his coach don't look at it as a demotion.

Brayden Schenn dropped lines and changed positions in Sunday's 5-3 win over Calgary, but he and his coach don't look at it as a demotion.

Schenn had been playing left wing on the top unit but centered Chris VandeVelde and Roman Lyubimov Sunday on what could be viewed as either the third or fourth line.

At left wing, Schenn struggled. So did his center, Claude Giroux. Schenn entered Sunday with three goals overall and just one in his last 14 games.

"Center is a natural, comfortable position for me," Schenn, 25, said after Monday's optional skate in Voorhees. "I think it was a good adjustment to get me off left wing. It wasn't working at left wing. I wasn't moving my feet enough, and center gets me in the middle of the ice, moving around a little bit more. I thought as a line, we had a good night and can continue to build off that."

VandeVelde scored on a play started when Schenn harassed goalie Chad Johnson into a bad clearing pass from behind the net. Roman Lyubimov set up the goal.

That line "played power hockey from start to finish," coach Dave Hakstol said.

Bolstered by seven minutes of power-play time, Schenn played 19 minutes, 34 seconds, the most of any Flyers forward.

"I'm happy to be playing center, and you go out and do your job and not worry about anything else," said Schenn, who had a career-high 26 goals last season and signed a four-year, $20.5 million contract in July. "As long as it results in wins, that's all that matters."

Michael Raffl replaced Schenn as the top-line left winger and scored the Flyers' first goal Sunday.

Hakstol said he doesn't look at line changes as a demotion or a promotion.

"We try to discuss what's the most effective spot for a player, individually and, most importantly, what's the best fit for the team," he said. "Forget about the individual play. The outcome was the right one for the team [Sunday], and Brayden's effort was a big part of it."

On Tuesday against visiting Boston, the Flyers will be trying to win two straight for just the second time this season.

"When you're as inconsistent as we are - win one, lose one - he's just looking for chemistry in the group right now," Schenn said of Hakstol's lineup changes.

The Flyers (10-10-3) are two points out of a playoff spot, "and we haven't even played . . . as good as we can be," Schenn said.

Anthony Stolarz, in his NHL debut, made 29 saves in the win over Calgary. But Steve Mason is expected to start against the 12-10 Bruins, who will be without injured defensemen Zdeno Chara (plus-12) and John-Michael Liles (minus-2).

"I thought he did a good job," Hakstol said about Stolarz. "He's been ready to play each and every day, in terms of his preparation. And that's what his role remains. He needs to remain ready for his next start, whenever that may come."


Giroux, who is minus-8 on the season, is goal-less in his last nine games. Hakstol said "things weren't going real smoothly for G" a week ago, but that he has "liked his last few games. I've liked the competitiveness on pucks." . . . Lyubimov, Boyd Gordon, VandeVelde, Nick Schultz, Nick Cousins, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Scott Laughton, Mason and Stolarz were on the ice at Monday's optional practice. . . . Tuukka Rask (12-4, 1.63 GAA, .940 save percentage) will probably start for the Bruins, who are led by Brad Marchand (19 points, plus-8) and David Pastrnak (13 goals, plus-13).