SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Schenn brothers, Luke and Brayden, made their presence felt in the Flyers’ 7-1 wipeout of the awful Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
The most eye-opening stat: They combined for 16 of the Flyers’ 38 hits.
“It’s just part of our game; we both like to be physical,” said Brayden Schenn, a 21-year-old forward.
Luke Schenn, a 23-year-old defenseman, had 11 hits, a goal and an assist. Brayden Schenn had an assist on Matt Read’s third goal, delivered five hits and won five of seven face-offs.
It was the second straight strong game for Luke Schenn.
“He’s a real dependable guy for us,” coach Peter Laviolette said after the Flyers improved to 2-3. “He’s playing a lot of minutes, and I think he could play more if we needed him to.
“He’s gotten better every game.”
Brayden Schenn sat out the previous game, a 2-1 win over the Rangers, because of an NHL-imposed suspension for a head hit in New Jersey.
Schenn disagreed with the suspension, but didn’t dwell on it.
“You turn the page,” he said earlier on Saturday.
Flyers center Danny Briere, who missed the first four games because of a hairline fracture of his left wrist, made his first appearance of the year and helped set up the team’s early power-play goal, though he didn’t get an assist.
Briere buzzed around the net throughout the game and fired one shot off the left post.
“It was nice just to get back,” he said.
Briere said the wrist felt good “and I expect it will get better and better and get more strength, so I can battle a little bit (more).”
Veteran right winger Mike Knuble, who returned to the Flyers by signing a free-agent deal Friday, skated mostly on a line with Brayden Schenn and Scott Laughton. Knuble, 40, who wore No. 9, was on the Flyers' second power-play unit.
Knuble is one year older than the combined ages of Schenn (21) and Laugthon (18).
On Wednesday, Knuble played for AHL Grand Rapids _ his hometown _ and it figures to take him a few games to get his condition up to speed.
“It’ll be a little bit of a work in progress,” he said before the game.
In Saturday’s blowout win, he finished with an assist, three hits and two near goals in 14:23.
I wouldn't be surprised either way, but my gut feeling is that Laughton returns to juniors.
Saturday was Laughton's fifth game with the Flyers. If the center plays his sixth game Sunday against Tampa Bay, the clock will start on his entry-level contract.
Coach Peter Laviolette gave the 18-year-old Laughton high marks before the game.
"I think he's looked strong. He certainly hasn't looked out of place," Laviolette said. "Defensively, he's been in the right position. He's physical, smart. He's gotten some scoring chances. He hasn't hurt himself defensively at all. He's a nice kid. He fits in the locker room. Quiet."
Laughton has a very bright future and he has been impressive, but with Briere back in the lineup, the Flyers are strong again up the middle _ Claude Giroux, Briere/Schenn, Sean Couturier and Max Talbot.
The kid needs to play, and another year of seasoning will help his development.
For the first time in eons, the Flyers had three RH defensemen in the lineup: Luke Schenn, Bruno Gervais and Kurtis Foster. They were each on a different pairing…..Winger Zac Rinaldo, recovering from a lacerated leg, skated Saturday morning….Erik Gustafsson has recovered from a foot injury and returned to the Phantoms’ lineup….Hunch: Goalie Michael Leighton gets Sunday’s start against the Lightning.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.