ANAHEIM, Calif. – Travis Sanheim, the Flyers' rookie defenseman, got a chance to redeem himself against Anaheim on Saturday night, and Samuel Morin was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.
That means that unless Sanheim struggles mightily, Morin figures to be sent to the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the coming days.
General manager Ron Hextall wants to carry seven defensemen — the team currently has eight — and he wants his young players playing.
Sanheim, 21, had an uneven performance in his NHL debut, a 2-0 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday. He got caught out of position on the Kings' first goal, was later called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty, and finished minus-2 on the night.
But he played better in the third period and was in the lineup Saturday
"It feels good. I get another opportunity here, and I'm looking forward to bouncing back and play more of the way I did in the third," Sanheim said before the game against the injury-riddled Ducks. "Like I said the other night, I kind of wanted that game to continue."
"There's going to be hiccups. There's going to be mistakes made by every player, and most certainly young players," coach Dave Hakstol said. "Those guys have to know and have the confidence … that they're going to continue to get opportunities. Does that mean they're going to get an opportunity the very next night or the very next shift? Not always."
Sanheim was again paired with Radko Gudas, who is more of a stay-at-home defenseman.
"It probably does give me the opportunity to jump up a little more," Sanheim said. "The other night it was a little tough to get up there, but hopefully I can get the right reads and find a couple chances to join the rush."
Sanheim and Morin, who excelled in training camp, are roommates.
"Obviously he's working hard every day. I'm close friends with him and just trying to support him," Sanheim said. "Some of the things are out of our control and you try not to let that affect your relationship. Just go out and compete and things will fall into place. He's a great player. I think the coaches said there's eight great D here, and obviously two good defensemen will have to sit every game."
At least until one is sent to the AHL.
Goalie matchup. Brian Elliott, who had a 3.00 goals-against average and .914 save percentage, faced the Ducks' John Gibson (4.00, .867). Both were 1-0.
Ducks' injury woes. The Ducks, who have the league's second-heaviest team, had six injured players, including centers Ryan Getzlaf (6-foot-4, 223 pounds) and Ryan Kesler (6-2, 202).
Hakstol said that the Ducks would still bring a "gritty, grinding, hard-to-play-against hockey team," and that it "really doesn't change a whole lot for us. Obviously, some of the matchups may change a little bit … Most importantly, especially at this time of the year, Game 3, we have to go out and be real hungry."
In their opener, the Ducks overcame a three-goal deficit and defeated Arizona, 5-4.
Off-day visit. Several Flyers visited Universal Studios during their day off Friday.
Burly defenseman Gudas was asked if he had his photo taken with any of the cartoon characters.
"No, I'm a character, too," he cracked.
"Yeah, we took some pictures with him out there," winger Michael Raffl said, referring to Gudas. "He was hoping to get a job, I think."