Coming off of two losses last week in which the Flyers were outskated for the majority of the game, it wouldn't have surprised anyone to see head coach Dave Hakstol shake up his lineup a bit. It does appear we'll see at least one new face in the lineup tonight as the Flyers take on Boston, but we're not sure yet if there will be more.
On the back end, Brandon Manning will be back on the ice for the first time since January 13, and for just the third time this month. He's sat for each of the team's last four games, but he'll take Evgeny Medvedev's spot in the lineup, presumably alongside Shayne Gostisbehere.
Manning in for Medvedev.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 25, 2016
Hakstol: Some inconsistencies defensively from Medvedev but more about wanting different look with Manning.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) January 25, 2016
Medvedev appears to have found his way back into the doghouse due to relatively poor defensive zone play of late. While it can be argued that Medvedev's positives elsewhere on the ice make him a more appealing option to the team than Manning or even Nick Schultz, our own Charlie O'Connor pointed out that Medvedev's play in the Flyers' third of the ice has sagged a bit of late.
So Hakstol's justification for scratching Medvedev is valid, even if -- as we've discussed here before -- it may not be in the team's overall best interest. With that said, Manning had played fairly well a couple of weeks ago in Shayne Gostisbehere's absence before getting sent back up to the press box, so it should be interesting to see what he'll do now that he's back in the lineup.
Up front, the change the a lot of fans have been clamoring for -- new center Jordan Weal in the lineup -- looked like it was imminent after Weal was rotating into the lineup and on the second power play at the beginning of practice. Likely to be scratched in Weal's place? None other than R.J. Umberger.
Weal working 2nd unit PP— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) January 25, 2016
Umberger is the healthy scratch forward tonight.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) January 25, 2016
But practice ended with Weal skating with confirmed healthy scratch Medvedev, suggesting that he may not be in the lineup after all. Hakstol declined to confirm any changes, stating that he'd make his decision tonight after warm-ups -- though he suggested it's still possible that Weal is in.
Umberger left ice with regulars and Weal still skating. So we will see what Hakstol says.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) January 25, 2016
Umberger among the first players off the ice. So maybe he doesn't sit. Haksto said "reasonable" chance Weal plays.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) January 25, 2016
Hakstol says Weal is probably in. Will decide after warmups, for some reason.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 25, 2016
We'll see how things shake out just prior to game time. With Umberger flubbing a number of golden chances in front of the net last Thursday against Pittsburgh and generally failing to make much of an impact on the game in recent weeks, it does seem like his time as a healthy scratch may be near.