The Flyers announced they won’t have a medical update on Wayne Simmonds until Thursday, but the star right winger didn’t appear to be in a lot of pain after Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Florida.
The team probably won’t know until Thursday’s morning skate whether Simmonds can play in that night’s game against visiting Nashville (3-2-1). If Simmonds can’t play, Jori Lehtera, a healthy scratch in the first six games, would likely make his Flyers debut.
In Tuesday’s victory, Simmonds played five third-period shifts totaling three minutes, 14 seconds before heading to the locker room with an unspecified lower-body injury. General manager Ron Hextall said he was removed for “precautionary reasons.”
Simmonds leads the Flyers (4-2) with five goals, and he collected an assist, took five shots, and won a fight in Tuesday’s victory. One of the NHL’s most durable players, Simmonds has missed just 17 games in his nine-plus NHL seasons.
The Flyers will be trying to avenge a 6-5 loss in Nashville on Oct. 10, a game in which the Predators netted a pair of power-play goals in the last 77 seconds. Filip Forsberg snapped a 5-5 tie with 36 seconds remaining, scoring on a power play that was awarded after the Flyers lost an offside challenge.
Coach Dave Hakstol challenged an offside call after former Flyer Scott Hartnell’s tying goal with 1:17 left. Teams that lose an offside challenge are given a two-minute delay-of-game penalty this season. In the past, teams only lost a timeout if the challenge was unsuccessful.
In that game, Nashville was without its injured captain, Roman Josi, one of its best defensemen. Josi returned from a three-game absence Tuesday and had a goal and an assist in the Preds’ 4-1 win over Colorado.
The Flyers are 2-0 on the homestand, which has three games remaining.
“I think right now the players are getting to the hard areas and making good, confident plays,” Hakstol said.
The Flyers have outscored their last two opponents, Washington and Florida, by a combined 13-3.
“We have a lot of depth and we’re rolling all four lines,” said top-line center Sean Couturier, who has four goals and went into Wednesday tied for the NHL plus-minus lead at plus-9.
Couturier said the speed of the fourth line — Scott Laughton centering Taylor Leier and Michael Raffl — “is making it hard on opposing teams. They’re creating momentum and that reflects all the way through the lineup.”
For just the 12th time in franchise history, the Flyers have 26 goals in their first six games (4.3 per game). The Flyers also started strong offensively last year by averaging 3.2 goals in their first 30 games, but they faded considerably and averaged just 2.2 goals over their last 52 games.
With a younger team and fresher legs, the hope is that they are built to be more consistent this season.
The Flyers will unveil the Ed Snider statue outside the Wells Fargo Center at a 4:30 p.m. ceremony Thursday. … Shayne Gostisbehere led NHL defensemen with 10 points heading into Wednesday. … Nashville center Nick Bonino, who signed a four-year, $16.4 million free-agent deal in the offseason, missed Tuesday’s game with an apparent ankle injury. … The Flyers are 4-0 when scoring the first goal, and 0-2 when their opponents take a 1-0 lead. … Dale Weise will play in his 400th career game Thursday. … Jake Voracek has seven assists over his last four games, and he entered Wednesday tied for second in the league with 10 assists.