After being a healthy scratch for three games in a row, Shayne Gostisbehere re-entered the lineup Thursday night as the Philadelphia Flyers took on the New York Islanders.
The Islanders have had an up and down season, but ever since the firing of head coach Jack Capuano in January, they’ve turned a new leaf, pushing for the final playoff spot that is currently held by the Flyers.
Gostisbehere has been a healthy scratch five times this year after coming in second for the Calder Trophy voting to Artemi Panarin last year as the league’s best rookie. In 64 games last season, Gostisbehere was able to put up 46 points, 17 goals and 29 assists, but this year only has four goals and 17 assists for a total of 21 points in 48 games.
The most astounding statistic is that Gostisbehere is a -19 this year, which is dead last on the team.
If you thought head coach Dave Hakstol would ease Gostisbehere back into game action, you’d have been wrong.
The Flyers would be on the wrong end of things by the time the game would come to an end, but Gostisbehere showed that he wants to stay in the lineup for good.
Gostisbehere could not get enough of the game, as through two periods he had over 18 minutes TOI and also had a power play assist on the Flyers’ lone goal of the game. Gostisbehere was paired with Mark Streit, and while they are both offensively-minded defensemen, Gostisbehere proved that he could play defensively sound as well.
Gostisbehere would end the game with 20:24 TOI which would be second only to Streit. He would also be on the ice for two goals against, however one was completely on Steve Mason.
It was not the welcome back that Gostisbehere had hoped for as the Flyers fell to the Islanders, 3-1, but what we saw from the Ghost was some of the skill he played with last year.
He was able to successfully dazzle with some head fakes and, unsuccessfully, tried a spin move. It is good to see Ghost playing to his strengths while also understanding that he has things to work on defensively.
There are many of those that believe that the benching of Ghost this year means that he no longer has a place in the Flyers’ future plans, however, Hakstol assured season ticket holders at the town hall that the Flyers recently held that Ghost was a big part of where the Flyers are now and will be a big part of the future.
The Flyers scored their first goal in two games in the first period of the game Thursday night, but still have not scored an even-strength goal in three games.
They will now face an extremely tough San Jose Sharks team on Saturday and I would expect to see Ghost back in the lineup as he continues to prove that he belongs in the starting lineup every night.