Jordan Weal, hitting 'restart button,' will replace Danick Martel in Flyers lineup
Jordan Weal, who finished strongly last season, has just two goals in 20 games.
Struggling winger Jordan Weal, getting a "fresh start," will return to the Flyers lineup Saturday afternoon against visiting Boston, and barring an unforeseen development, speedy Danick Martel will remain with the AHL's Phantoms.
Martel was impressive in his first two games after being recalled, but he wasn't a factor in limited minutes as the Flyers lost to San Jose, 3-1, on Tuesday and suffered their ninth straight defeat.
On Wednesday, Martel was sent to the Phantoms, who have two games before the Flyers meet the Bruins.
Weal, who has two goals in 20 games, was on a line with Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds at practice Thursday in Voorhees.
"I think he needs to hit the restart button a little bit and have a fresh start," coach Dave Hakstol said about Weal, who was scratched in the previous two games, "and that's exactly what this opportunity should provide for him. As I've said before, his work ethic, his passion, none of that is lacking – nor has it ever been.
"It's a little bit of a restart for him so he can get back in the lineup and just have that fresh feel and fresh start."
The 5-foot-10, 179-pound Weal has appeared off his game after getting hit in the head by Winnipeg's 6-5, 260-pound Dustin Byfuglien on Nov. 16. Weal missed the next game, and he was unproductive and was used sparingly in the next three contests.
As for Martel, Hakstol said he "thought he added a ton of energy, especially early on. The last game, I think we had a lot of tired legs, and he was one of them. But I thought he showed he has that burst that can impact games a little bit offensively. He's got to keep working toward it. It was a real good opportunity for him to play his first National Hockey League games, and I think we saw a lot of things we liked in him."
Asked if he was sent back to the Phantoms because they had a few games before the Flyers played again, Hakstol said, "No, it wasn't just for that purpose."
That means, in all likelihood, Martel won't return for Saturday's game.
Martel didn't play much in the third period against the Sharks.
"I didn't think he was all that effective as we were going through that game," Hakstol said. "He's got to have that burst in order to play the way he needs to play to generate offensive opportunities. Again, a back end of a back-to-back, he didn't really have that burst."
The Flyers need to drastically improve their penalty kill and their third-period performances if they are going to start winning games. During their nine-game losing streak, they have been outscored, 14-2, after the second period.
"The only way to get out of it is to keep working, get that win, and build confidence that way," center Val Filppula said.
"I don't think we're playing it safe," center Sean Couturier said of the late-game meltdowns. "It's just about managing the game, not forcing things, and being smart out there. It's little details that are haunting us, and it seems like every little mistake we make ends up in the back of our net right now."
Couturier's suggested solution: "If we're not getting anything done within 25, 30 seconds of a shift, just don't force anything. Put it deep, get a change, and roll four lines. That's how we should be closing games. We just have to simplify and go back to the basics."
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald said that the closed-door meeting the team held after the San Jose loss was beneficial, that it showed "we have each other's backs. Obviously we got into this together and we're going to get out of it together."
Michael Raffl left practice with an undisclosed injury that is not believed serious. … Jake Voracek and Dale Weise had maintenance days and did not practice.