Let Zherdev out of doghouse

Nikokay Zherdev has been a healthy scratch for the last six games. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

  It’s time.

  Time for the Flyers' Peter Laviolette, who has become a serious coach-of-the-year candidate, to unlock the door on his doghouse.

   In other words, it’s time to put enigmatic winger Nik Zherdev back into the lineup.

   Quite simply, the Flyers need his offense.

  Yes, he is sometimes lazy on defense.

  But the guy is a scorer and finisher, plain and simple. He has 15 goals in just 47 games. Oh, and he has averaged just 12:28 a game.

   In goals per time on ice, he is one of the most explosive players in the NHL.

   Andreas Nodl was on the power play in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Phoenix. So was Kris Versteeg

   Zherdev, a healthy scratch the last six games, would have been a better option.

  The PP went 0 for 5 _ in fairness, the Flyers applied good pressure, hit a couple posts and were stymied by goalie Ilya Bryzgalov _ and it played a major role in the loss.

   In the last four games, the Flyers’ PP is 1 for 15.

   Would Zherdev have made a difference?

   Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s time to find out.

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   On Shane Doan's game-winning four-on-three goal, Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros lost his stick and was helpless to block the shot....Despite Tuesday's OT loss, the Flyers opened a seven-point lead over Pittsburgh in the East. and in the Atlantic Division. They also climbed to within one point of Vancouver for the overall NHL lead.....The Flyers are 2-3 in OT games this season....Claude Gioux has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time since mid-December......Phoenix has won eight straight, including seven by one goal.....The Flyers have won just seven of 16 games vs. the West.....The Flyers had 39 shots. Oddly, they are just 6-5-2 when the have at least 38 shots....Jody Shelley won an action-packed, second-period fight with Nolan Yonkman, but had to have about 60 stitches in the forehead. Shelley did not play in the third period.

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  For constant Flyers updates, follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.



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