Saturday, February 13, 2016

Flyers' curse of top-line LW

The Flyers can’t seem to keep their top-line left winger healthy.

Flyers' curse of top-line LW

Scott Hartnell will be out four-to-eight weeks. (Tom Mihalek/AP)
Scott Hartnell will be out four-to-eight weeks. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

The Flyers can’t seem to keep their top-line left winger healthy.

All-star Scott Hartnell has played just three games this season because of a broken foot.

Earlier this season, Wayne Simmonds suffered a concussion while playing on the first unit.

And now, just as Matt Read had started to assert himself as the left winger on Claude Giroux’s line, the Flyers announced on Thursday he will miss six weeks because of a torn rib-cage muscle, suffered in Wednesday’s 6-5 win in Pittsburgh.

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"There’s no feeling sorry for yourself or feeling sorry for the team,” right winger Mike Knuble said after the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to visiting Florida on Thursday. “We’ve lost Hartnell, it’s all part of the game. It’s all part of the way things are rolling this season. It’s too bad for him. He was off to a great start. It’s too bad for us.

"We’re going to miss him, but again, there’s not a lot of time to worry,” Knuble said. “We have to start preparing for our game Saturday (against Winnipeg) and get back on track.”

Read has seven goals and is tied for the team lead with the sizzling Jake Voracek.

The game before Read was injured, he combined with Giroux and Voracek for 10 points and a plus-9 rating in a 7-0 win over the Islanders.

“That line had gotten put together and there was so much chemistry with it,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “You go back at the end of the game and look at the scoring chances that line created and they were in the teens together. When they get pulled apart it’s a little difficult to stick somebody in there.”

Tye McGinn filled Read’s top-line spot Thursday.

“I thought Tye did a good job tonight,” Laviolette said. “He went out and tried to give us some skating and physicality on the line, but certainly there was some chemistry with Matt. To take him out of the lineup (hurts); he is a guy that does everything. He plays point on the power play, he can play left wing, center, and right wing and kills penalties, so he’s a valuable piece to the puzzle.”

The good news: Hartnell may be ready to return to the lineup Wednesday against Washington.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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