SUNRISE, Fla. – Following the Flyers’ 4-1 loss Sunday in Florida, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere met with members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High state championship hockey team.
Gostisbehere once attended the South Florida school, where 17 people were killed in mass shootings Feb. 14. Eleven days later, the school’s hockey team won a state title.
“It’s the least I can do,” said Gostisbehere, who addressed the hockey players, congratulated them on their championship, and signed autographs. “I mean, I have to thank the Panthers for setting it up and obviously the Flyers for going with it. … They’ve had a rough couple weeks here, and just to get their minds off something and have some laughs” is important.
Added Gostisbehere: “Just to see their faces today and see how happy they were, that made it all for me.”
Oduya replaces injured MacDonald
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who was minus-3 in Saturday’s 7-6 shootout loss in Tampa, missed Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury. He is listed as day to day.
Johnny Oduya, plucked off waivers last week, replaced MacDonald and made his Flyers debut. Oduya was paired with Robert Hagg, MacDonald’s partner, and he was badly beaten on the game’s first goal as Aleksander Barkov went around him and scored on a Florida power play.
Oduya, 36, was later injured and played just 9 seconds in the third period. All told, he was on the ice for 12 minutes, 22 seconds while playing his first game since Feb. 22 with Ottawa.
Coach Dave Hakstol said Oduya was “dinged up,” and the defenseman was unsure if he could play Wednesday against visiting Pittsburgh, if he is needed.
If MacDonald and Oduya can’t play, Travis Sanheim figures to be recalled from the Phantoms.
Oduya, trying to adjust to a new system, looked rusty in his first appearance in 10 days.
“You try to be as active as possible and not be on your heels, and try to engage in the game,” he said. ” … Obviously being off the ice for a bit and not being in game action, you need to regain” your rhythm.
Added Oduya: “There’s a lot of things that are new. I hope if I get a chance to play I can get better.”
Simmonds getting close
High-scoring right winger Wayne Simmonds made the road trip and is getting closer to returning, perhaps as early as Wednesday against Pittsburgh. The Flyers, Penguins, and Capitals are battling for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Simmonds has missed the last seven games with an upper-body injury; the Flyers have gone 4-2-1 during that time.
The Flyers have lost five of their last six games in Florida. … Sean Couturier has been stuck on 29 goals for the last eight games. He is on the verge of becoming the 32nd player in franchise history to reach the 30-goal mark. … Entering Sunday, the Flyers were second in the NHL in faceoff percentage (53.4 percent). Claude Giroux was third in the NHL at 59.3 percent. … Gostisbehere got some rare time on the penalty kill. … Ivan Provorov had 10 shots, including six on goal.