Jordan Weal returns to Flyers' lineup against Hurricanes; Jori Lehtera sits

FLYREARLY18
Flyers right winger Jordan Weal (left) will be trying to snap a 13-game goal-less streak Saturday in Carolina.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Maybe sitting in the press box and watching the last four games with light a fuse under winger Jordan Weal.

That’s the Flyers’ hope, anyway.

Weal will return to the lineup Saturday in Carolina and play right wing on the third line, which will include center Scott Laughton and left winger Matt Read.

Jori Lehtera will be a healthy scratch for the first time since Jan. 4. Lehtera has three goals, all in the last 13 games.

Weal had eight goals in the final 19 games last year, but he has been a major disappointment this season, producing seven goals in 60 games. He has no goals in his last 13 games.

Alex Lyon, who is 2-2 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage, will face Carolina veteran Cam Ward (19-12-4, 2.77, .905).

Carolina has allowed six goals in three of its last four games.

In the Flyers’ 2-1 win in Carolina on Feb. 6, Weal beat Ward for the winner with 3.1 seconds left in overtime.

“He brings a different element than Jori does,” coach Dave Hakstol said before the game.

Lehtera is a grinding type of player, while Weal has much more speed than the veteran.

“It’s not a negative toward his (Lehtera’s) play; Jordan brings a little bit different look in terms of his skill set,” said Haktsol, whose team didn’t have a morning skate Saturday because their coach is trying to conserve their energy for the stretch run. “We think that skill set Jordan brings suits us for this game.”

Hakstol said he was hoping for a “rock-solid performance” from Lyon.  “He went in and battled hard for us” in relief of Petr Mrazek during Thursday’s 5-3 loss to Columbus. “We need Alex to start this back-to-back with a real strong, hard-nosed performance. That’s his personality. He goes out and battles, and that’s what we want him to do.”

Hakstol said he was leaning toward using the slumping Mrazek in Sunday’s key 5 p.m. game against visiting Washington.

In another matter, defenseman Robert Hagg is still not ready to return Saturday from a lower-body injury.