The Philadelphia Flyers may have earned their first win on Monday night against the Florida Panthers, but with the offense providing only one goal, coach Dave Hakstol has decided to tweak his line combinations for tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sam Gagner, who spent Monday with Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, skated on the third line in practice this morning with Scott Laughton and Matt Read. Replacing Gagner at right wing with Couturier and Schenn is Wayne Simmonds.
The Schenn-Couturier-Gagner line scored the team's only goal on Monday, so the change is a bit surprising. With Gagner providing speed through the neutral zone, the Couturier line looked more dangerous than it had all season. However, Gagner is not known for his defensive prowess, and Hakstol could be planning to heavily match Couturier against the dangerous Chicago Blackhawks top unit, which contains Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
The third line now consists of three above-average skaters in Read, Laughton and Gagner. Whether their speed can help to produce useful secondary scoring remains to be seen.
In goal, Michal Neuvirth will get the start once more. Steve Mason did skate today, but he will not dress for the game as he continues to deal with a personal issue. Jason LaBarbera will again serve as Neuvirth's backup.
R.J. Umberger remains out with an upper-body injury, and Luke Schenn will be scratched for the second straight contest.
Probable Line Combinations and Defensive Pairings:
Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Brayden Schenn - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Scott Laughton - Sam Gagner
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Evgeny Medvedev - Radko Gudas
Michael Del Zotto - Brandon Manning