James van Riemsdyk is in for Flyers; Nico Hischier out for Devils
The Flyers got good news for their game Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Left winger James van Riemsdyk will return to the Flyers lineup Thursday night after missing 16 games because of a knee injury, and speedy Devils center Nico Hischier will be sidelined for the second straight game because of an undisclosed injury.
The Flyers (9-8-1) will host the Devils at 7 p.m. New Jersey started the season 4-0 but has lost nine of its last 12 games. The Devils (7-8-1) are trying to build off their last game, a 4-2 win Tuesday over visiting Pittsburgh.
Van Riemsdyk is expected to be on the No. 3 line, with Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds. He will also be on the Flyers' top power-play unit. The ' power play is just 2 for 28 in the last 10 games.
"He's a dangerous player and a goal scorer, so he adds certainly some scoring depth to their lineup," Devils coach John Hynes said. "He's one of the best net-front power-play guys in the league, so I think particularly on the penalty kill, we have to make some adjustments, and we're aware of some of the plays he likes."
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said van Riemsdyk "has to go in and give us a good presence five-on-five, and he'll have a role on our power play. It's his first game back, so everybody else has to make sure they're doing their job and holding up their end of the bargain, and James has to go out and just get himself back into a rhythm of an NHL game."
It will be van Riemsdyk's first home game in his second stint with the Flyers.
"It's exciting stuff," said van Riemsdyk, whose team is 5-1-1 over its last seven games. "The guys have been playing great, so I just want to get back in and fit into that."
Van Riemsdyk has not played since Oct. 6.
"First and foremost, I just want to try to find my own game within the structure of the team, and just do what makes me successful. Just make smart plays and don't try to do too much," van Riemsdyk said. "It's been six weeks since I played a game, so there's obviously going to be some sort of adjustments getting back into the swing of things, but, again, I'm excited to get back out there and get started."
The Flyers scored a closer-than-it-looks 5-2 win over the visiting Devils on Oct. 20. In that game, Jake Voracek snapped a 2-2 tie with 3:10 left in regulation, and Simmonds and Scott Laughton added empty-net goals.
The Flyers have gone 18 games without a fight, a club record at the start of a season. They went 15 games in 1967-68, their inaugural season.
Brian Elliott (2.62 GAA, .911 save percentage) is slated to face the Devils' Keith Kincaid (2.80, .911). … Hischier (three goals, 12 points) is listed as day to day. Center Brian Boyle (six goals) is also sidelined for the Devils. … At the morning skate, there were temporary clocks hanging from the glass behind the nets so players didn't have to look over their shoulders at the scoreboard. The NHL is considering adding them to arenas. "I don't see a big issue with what we have now," Hakstol said. If the clocks are added, the issue will be stationing them so they don't block the fans' sightlines. The best spot would be to put them along the boards, but that would cut into advertisers' space. …
Jori Lehtera is expected to be a healthy scratch for the first time this season, and Dale Weise will drop to the fourth line and probably get more penalty-killing time. "We need more of the grit, more of that grime in our game, and he's one of the guys who can provide it and has provided it," Hakstol said. … The Flyers are 11th in the NHL with 57 goals; they have scored 45 goals (five per game) in their nine wins, but they have scored two goals or fewer in seven of their nine losses.