Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 4:27 PM
The Flyers have received solid contributions from most of their players this season.
Jordan Weal has been an exception.
But they are hoping that putting him back on a line with center Val Filppula and right winger Wayne Simmonds will jump-start the 25-year-old left winger.
Weal finished strongly last season — he scored eight goals in his final 19 games — while mostly with Filppula and Simmonds. He was also with them for a handful of games early this season.
“We’ve had some good success, and I think our games work well together,” Weal said before the Flyers’ showdown with visiting Pittsburgh on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Weal entered Wednesday with just seven goals and a team-worst minus-9 rating, and he had only three points (goal, two assists) in his last 21 games. No one works harder than Weal, who constantly spends extra time on the ice after practices and morning skates.
“I’m getting a lot of chances all year, and it’s just one of those things. You have to keep working and keep moving forward,” he said. “Ninety percent of the game is getting those opportunities, and the last 10 percent is just making sure you capitalize on them. With Fil and Simmer, instead of getting two or three chances a game, maybe [I’ll] get four or five and start filling the net more.”
Simmonds likes the chemistry the line has had in the past.
“Communication and knowing where each other are going to be, I think that’s a huge factor,” he said before returning to the lineup after a seven-game absence because of a lower-body injury. “When you get out there on a line, you want to have a set plan on what you’re doing, and where you’re going to go, and what you’re expecting of yourself and your linemates. We’ve played together a lot, so we should have a pretty good understanding of what each other are going to do.”
Coach Dave Hakstol hopes reuniting Weal with Simmonds and Filppula will reenergize his game.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to get the player into the right situation with the right opportunities to help them get going in the right direction,” he said.
The Flyers entered Wednesday 27-11-9 when Claude Giroux collects at least a point, and 7-10-2 when he doesn’t.
Goalie Petr Mrazek started his seventh straight game. … The winner of Wednesday’s game was guaranteed at least a share of first place in the Metropolitan Division. … Injured goalie Michal Neuvirth has resumed skating. … After suffering an undisclosed injury in Florida on Sunday, Johnny Oduya participated in the morning skate but was not in Wednesday’s lineup. Andrew MacDonald returned after missing one game with an upper-body injury. … The Flyers are scheduled to play Thursday in Boston, assuming they don’t have travel issues to the snowy city. The Flyers were blanked by the visiting Bruins, 3-0, on Dec. 2 for their 10th straight winless game. Since then, they have rebounded and have been one of the NHL’s best teams. … The Flyers and Penguins will also meet March 25 in Pittsburgh.
Read full story: Flyers' Jordan Weal trying to regain scoring touch on familiar line