RALEIGH, N.C. – For the first time since Dec. 28 — and just the fifth time this season — Taylor Leier was on a line with Scott Laughton and Jordan Weal on Tuesday in Carolina.
The line helped the Flyers sweep a three-game Western Canada trip in early December, defeating Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver after losing its previous 10 contests. In those three games, the line combined for three goals, two assists, and a plus-4 rating.
They were only together one other time, a 3-2 loss to Florida on Dec. 28 in which Laughton scored a goal. He has three of his four goals on that line, even though it had been together only four times before Tuesday.
Leier was added to the line Tuesday, replacing Michael Raffl.
“He brings a lot of speed,” Laughton said before the Flyers registered a 2-1 overtime win on Weal’s goal. “We’ll just try to get a good forecheck and get a lot of turnovers and spend a lot of time in the offensive zone. If we do that, we’ll be successful.”
Leier was excited to be reunited with Laughton and Weal.
“We have a lot of familiarity with each other,” he said before drawing a first-period tripping penalty on Klas Dahlbeck on Tuesday. “Hopefully we’ll pick up where we left off.”
Leier “consistently brings a great work ethic, and that’s all you want from a linemate,” Weal said.
The line is the fastest of the Flyers’ four units.
“That’s a strength they have to use to their advantage,” coach Dave Hakstol said.
Raffl dropped down to the fourth line, but did spend time on the third line in the second half of Tuesday’s game. He began the game on a veteran unit that included Val Filppula and Jori Lehtera.
“We need to get great minutes out of everybody, individually and collectively as their units as well,” Hakstol said.
Simmonds reaches milestone
Right winger Wayne Simmonds played in his 500th game with the Flyers on Tuesday. This is his seventh season with the club.
Since being acquired as part of the stunning deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles, Simmonds has flourished. Entering the night, he had 180 goals in 499 games with the Flyers after managing 39 goals in 240 games with the Kings.
Simmonds, one of the league’s most consistent scorers, went into Tuesday second on the Flyers with 17 goals this season. He has scored between 28 and 32 goals in four of his five full seasons with the Flyers, and had 15 goals in 45 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Parade and Flyers
The Wells Fargo Center parking lots will be closed during Thursday’s Eagles parade, a Flyers official said, and will open at 4:30 p.m. for those going to the Flyers-Montreal game that night. The parade is expected to end around 3 p.m.
Because of the parade congestion, the Flyers will probably hold their morning skate in Voorhees on Thursday instead of the Wells Fargo Center.