LOS ANGELES – Flyers coach Dave Hakstol likes the job Jordan Weal has done as the team's third-line center.
With one exception.
"Take out the penalties and his game has been good," Hakstol said before the Flyers played in Los Angeles on Thursday night. "He's got to cut the penalties out there. They're always based on hard work and tenacity, but stick penalties are stick penalties. Whether you're taking them in the first two minutes, the last two minutes or in between, those are penalties that he needs to get out of his game."
One of those stick penalties, a tripping infraction, nearly cost the Flyers two points Tuesday in Anaheim.
The Ducks had been soundly outplayed. But they took advantage of Weal's late penalty and scored a power-play goal with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation, knotting the score at 2-2. Just 21 seconds later, Nolan Patrick bailed out Weal when he scored what proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory.
The penalty was "a tough one. I kind of got caught in the wrong position," said Weal, who had six minor penalties, including three for tripping and one for high-sticking, in the last six games entering Thursday, "I'd like to have that one back, but it was great for the guys to get that goal. That's what hockey's all about — when a teammate falls down or makes a mistake, the other guys on the team are going to have his back."
In essence, Weal, 26, has replaced 21-year-old Mikhail "Misha" Vorobyev, who has been demoted to the Phantoms, as the third-line center.
A third-round draft pick of the Kings in 2010, Weal outworked Vorobyev in practices and games.
"He's working his tail off, with and without the puck," Hakstol said. "He's been effective entering the zone with the puck, and he's been effective with it below the hash marks in the offensive zone, so those have all been real positives in his game."
Weal, who entered Thursday with three points and a plus-1 rating over eight games, shrugged off playing both left wing and center this season.
"It's just part of the gig," he said "Wherever the team needs me to play, I just have to do whatever it takes to help us win. "
Top-line Sean Couturier, who missed most of training camp because of a knee injury, is starting to resemble his old self, Hakstol believes.
Couturier had a goal and six shots in Tuesday's win.
"Coots' game has been sound, it's been solid," the fourth-year coach said. "On Tuesday night, there was a little bit of extra jump, an extra pop, in his game. Sometimes you can just see the energy in a player, and Coots had that energy on Tuesday. That's a huge thing for our team if that's the step he's taken."
The Flyers Wives Carnival, which will have Gritty available at different locations, will be held at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children can attend for free. For the first time, the carnival will feature an outdoor area with inflatable games and other activities.