Medvedev finally making impact with Flyers

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Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev.

This is the player the Flyers thought they were getting when they signed free-agent defenseman Evgeny Medvedev in the offseason.

After being a healthy scratch in the previous six games, Medvedev returned to the lineup, played more aggressively, and helped the Flyers register consecutive wins over the weekend.

Playing in his first NHL season, the 33-year-old Russian was arguably the Flyers' top defenseman in training camp, but he struggled in the first few weeks of the season and found himself benched.

Medvedev, a four-time all-star in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, had an assist and a plus-1 rating in a 3-2 overtime win over Nashville on Friday. He then played 25 minutes, 52 seconds - his time increased dramatically because of a first-period injury to Nick Schultz - in Saturday's 3-0 blanking of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The smooth-skating Medvedev played solid defense, covered up for a couple of mistakes made by his defensive partner, Shayne Gostisbehere, fired six shots (four on goal), and finished at plus-1.

Since returning to the lineup, Medvedev "has made a real effort in terms of his one-on-one competitiveness, his puck battles," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said after Monday's practice in Voorhees. "I think he's elevated that area."

When the Flyers play in Ottawa on Tuesday and try to avenge a recent 4-0 loss to the Senators, Medvedev will probably be paired with Gostisbehere, provided Schultz is able to play. If Schultz cannot go, Medvedev will be paired with Luke Schenn, and Brandon Manning will return to the lineup and be matched with Gostisbehere, based on Monday's practice.

Schultz, who was leveled by the Rangers' mammoth Dylan McIlrath on Saturday and missed the last 49 minutes, took part in practice Monday and said he felt ready to play.

In either case, Medvedev, his benching behind him, will be in the lineup.

"For any player, it's not easy to sit out and jump back in and feel confident and comfortable right away," goalie Steve Mason said. "He works hard in practice and that's probably a testament as to why he's had a smooth transition."

In the Flyers' 4-0 loss in Ottawa on Nov. 21, the Senators scored the game's first two goals about two minutes apart, starting with a shorthanded tally with 44 seconds remaining in an opening period that was controlled by the visitors.

"That game was like some games we've played this year," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "We come out strong and we just don't play for the full 60."

Simmonds said the youthful, speedy Senators "have a lot of offensive talent. They want to open the game up and play on the fly. That's not the way we play the game, so we just have to make sure we're playing the way we play. Get pucks [deep], get on their D, and play with structure."

Breakaways. The Flyers have killed their last 19 penalties, moving from 24th (76.2 percent success rate) to 15th (80.7 percent) in the league. . . . Mason is expected to get the start, as he did in last week's loss in Ottawa.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull