The Philadelphia Flyers may receive the services of Shayne Gostisbehere this week with the defenseman set to make his season debut on Tuesday night in Newark.
Gostisbehere skated with his teammates Monday in Voorhees for the first time since he contracted COVID-19, and there’s a chance he will return to the lineup Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. The 27-year-old missed the first six games due to COVID-19 protocol but looks set to replaced struggling veteran Erik Gustafsson in Tuesday’s trip to North Jersey.
“I feel really good and I’m thankful it didn’t hit me too hard,” Gostisbehere said in a conference call. “Hopefully, I’ll be good to go [Tuesday]. For the last couple years, I’ve dealt with some adversity on and off the ice with injuries. … It [stinks]; you want to be out there. Hopefully I can just get back in the swing of things.”
Gostisbehere practiced on the Flyers’ top defensive line on Monday alongside Ivan Provorov. His return could help the Orange and Black tighten up defensively, after allowed 10 goals in a pair of losses to the Boston Bruins last week.
He played in 47 combined games for the Flyers in 2019-20, scoring five goals and registering nine assists. Five of those appearances came in the NHL Playoffs.
Couturier making progress from rib injury
Sean Couturier did not practice with the team on Monday but did do some individual work with Flyers skills coach Angelo Ricci.
The veteran center suffered a rib injury against Pittsburgh back on Jan. 15 and is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of two weeks. Couturier’s absence has seen other players forced into his role, such as Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton.
Couturier won the NHL’s Selke Award in 2020 and admitted he isn’t rushing anything to avoid a long term spell on the sidelines.
“It was one of those hits I’ve taken probably 1,000 times [and not been injured],” Couturier said. “It just didn’t feel right. I feel like I can do a lot of stuff on the ice, but I can’t push it and have to let it heal.”
“We’re not playing that good. There are things we have to clean up in our game, but it’s early in the year and we’re going to make sure we fix those things.”
Elliott to start over Hart in goal
Brian Elliott will get the nod in goal for the Flyers on Tuesday, replacing Carter Hart.
The veteran Elliott made 40 saves in a 3-0 shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres last week, his lone appearance so far of the new season. Hart played both games against the Bruins in Massachusetts, conceding 10 goals.
Elliott remains a key piece of the Flyers roster and will need to be at his best against a surging Devils team who brings a growing group of youngsters to the mix.