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Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen suspended for Game 6

Cross-check doled out by defender resulted in broken jaw for Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher.

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Flyers will be a man short as they try and close out the Canadiens in Game 6 on Friday night in Toronto.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen has been suspended for one game as a result of the cross-check that he threw on Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher late in Game 5. Gallagher was left with a broken jaw and will miss the rest of the series as he undergoes surgery for the injury.

The suspension leaves the Flyers without half of their top defense pair — as Niskanen has skated alongside Ivan Provorov for virtually the entire season. Stepping into the lineup figures to be Shayne Gostisbehere, who played in Game 1 and 2 in place of Robert Hagg, but has spent the last couple games out of Alain Vigneault’s top-six.

With Niskanen out the attention will turn to how Vigneault and his staff will sort out the defense, and a potential break up of their solid second pairing of Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers, which has been the Flyers’ best pairing thus far in the series.

While losing the veteran hurts, Niskanen hasn’t been his usually steady self through five games and creates an opportunity for Gostisbehere to perhaps jump start a Flyers offense that hasn’t produced at the same level it did during the round-robin.

More to come on this developing story and how it effects the Flyers for Game 6.

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