Flyers' Wayne Simmonds to miss 2-3 weeks; Alex Lyon gets start

FLYREARLY21
Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds (left) will miss two to three weeks with an injury that he may have suffered in a fight Sunday.

When the Flyers host Montreal on Tuesday night, rookie goalie Alex Lyon will get the start and high-scoring right winger Wayne Simmonds will miss the game because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Simmonds will  miss two to three weeks, general manager Ron Hextall said.

Goalie Petr Mrazek, acquired from Detroit on Monday night for two conditional draft picks, will likely start Thursday against visiting Columbus. Moving forward, he will be the Flyers’ go-to goalie.

Simmonds might have gotten injured while winning a fight against the Rangers’ Tony DeAngelo (a Sewell native) on Sunday. Jordan Weal will move up to the Nolan Patrick-centered second line and play left wing, and Jake Voracek will shift from left to right wing.

Simmonds, one of the key players on the power play, is tied for second on the Flyers with 20 goals.

“You take any player out of your lineup, it’s going to hurt, but especially Simmer,” Voracek said. “It’s something that happens to every team around the league, and we have to make sure we find a way to grind it out without him.”

“It’s tough losing a guy like that, especially a guy that cares that much,” defenseman Radko Gudas said. “He’s one of the key parts of this team. We’re going to give a chance to another young guy, and hopefully he can produce for us.”

That young guy is Oskar Lindblom, who was promoted from the Phantoms. He will make his NHL debut and play left wing on a line that includes Scott Laughton and right winger Michael Raffl.

“He’s got a great shot, a great hockey sense,” said captain Claude Giroux, who observed Lindblom during training camp. “… I think he’s excited about it and so are the guys; he’s a great guy in the locker room, too.”

Lindblom, 21, a fifth-round draft selection in 2014, scored 16 goals with the Phantoms and was selected to the AHL all-star team.

“I grew as a player and a person down there,” said Lindblom, adding he planned to “have fun and play my game” in his debut.

Lindblom figures to play three games before Monday’s trade deadline. That might determine whether Hextall rolls the dice and makes a move for a veteran winger such as Rick Nash. The odds are that Hextall doesn’t go after a forward, but don’t rule out his adding a veteran defenseman.

Neuvirth update

Michal Neuvirth will miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury, Hextall said. That means the earliest the veteran goalie figures to return is late March, the last week of the regular season.

Brian Elliott, who underwent abdominal surgery last week, isn’t expected to return until at least March 20, based on Hextall’s estimation.

Mrazek praised

Mrazek drew praise from his new teammates.

Flyers center Val Filppula was with Detroit when Mrazek was in the Red Wings system, but never played with the goalie. In later years, however, he made a lasting impression on Filppula.

“He’s really quick. He challenges [shooters] a lot, and he’s really quick side to side,” Filppula said.

Like Voracek,  Gudas played with Mrazek on Czech Republic national teams.

“I think our goalies were doing a really good job … and keeping teams honest, and I think he’s going to do the same thing,” Gudas said.

Giroux said the injuries to Neuvirth and Elliott were just part of the territory.

“You look at Vegas. They had a lot of goalie injuries and they had guys stepping in and getting the job done,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for right now.”

Giroux called Mrazek “a real dominating goalie, and it’s exciting to have him on our team.”

Breakaways

Since being sent to the Phantoms, defenseman Travis Sanheim has 13 points and a plus-11 rating in 12 games. … Travis Konecny has 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 24 games since being elevated to the top line. … The Flyers are third in the NHL in faceoff percentage (52.9).