The big shock out of Philadelphia Flyers practice yesterday was the removal of Evgeny Medvedev from the lineup for last night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. One loss, four goals and innumerable defensive miscues later, and it seemed a certainty that Medvedev would be back on the ice for Tuesday's matchup versus the Edmonton Oilers.
No surprise: Sean Couturier not playing tonight. Fairly big surprise: looks like Brandon Manning is in over Evgeny Medvedev.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) November 3, 2015
Medvedev will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game, as the Flyers plan to dress the same defense corps as they did in Vancouver. It's a questionable decision, especially after Brandon Manning singlehandedly caused three odd-man rushes against last night, including one that ended with a Canucks goal.
The decision to bench Medvedev in the first place was a bit mystifying, as we broke down yesterday. Medvedev's play had regressed during the Flyers' three-game losing streak, but he was still statistically outperforming other members of the defense, such as Manning and Nick Schultz. A second straight game out of the lineup makes the benching even more inexplicable.
Even if the scratching is meant to be a teaching tool, as Flyers coach Dave Hakstol hinted yesterday, Philadelphia is not in a position to be intentionally hamstringing their already-weak defense. They need wins, as the team has lost four straight games to fall to sixth place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Philadelphia Flyers' defense is measurably worse with Evgeny Medvedev out of the lineup. In order to break their recent losing streak tonight against the Oilers, the players will have to overcome that self-imposed obstacle.