Left winger Michael Raffl will be able to play Thursday, and goalie Michal Neuvirth will make the start as the Flyers host Tampa Bay in their final game before the all-star break.
Raffl, who has nine goals in the last 27 games, suffered an apparent leg injury in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win in Detroit and did not play after the second period. He took part in Thursday’s morning skate and was back on a line with center Val Filppula and right winger Jake Voracek.
“Going all the way back to camp, Raff has been the epitome of earning his opportunity, and he did that right from Day 1 in camp,” coach Dave Hakstol said after Thursday’s morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “In the early part of the year, there was an easy argument to be made to move him up in our lineup, but he was part of a real effective line for us.”
Raffl played the first 19 games on the fourth line and eventually was moved to the third and second units.
“He’s a guy who continues to work for everything and he continues to add to our group every night,” Hakstol said.
Raffl’s plus-14 rating is tied for second with defenseman Robert Hagg. Sean Couturier leads the Flyers with a plus-18 rating.
The Flyers (24-16-8) have won four straight and eight of their last nine.
Neuvirth, who is 5-5-1 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, will start for the third time in the last five games and will oppose all-star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (28-9-2, 2.21 GAA, .930 save percentage).
Vasilevskiy, who has tied a club record with seven shutouts this season, was not in the nets when the Flyers scored a 5-3 win in Tampa last month. He has excelled in six career appearances against the Flyers, going 3-2 with one no-decision and a 1.98 GAA and .942 save percentage.
Neuvirth is 4-2 with a 2.71 GAA and .920 save percentage in his career against the Lightning.
Tampa (33-12-3), which leads the NHL with 69 points and has one of the league’s best transition games, will be missing Victor Hedman who is arguably the NHL’s top defenseman, and left winger Ondrej Palat (30 points).
The Flyers are 16-5-1 since ending a 10-game losing streak. During their surge, they have gained 11 points on the Devils. The Flyers and New Jersey each have 56 points.
“They’re very structured, they work hard, and they have a good power play,” Tampa defenseman Braydon Coburn said of his former team. “They bring a lot of challenges.”
High-scoring Tampa has six players with 16 or more goals, led by Nikita Kucherov (27).