PITTSBURGH – Captain Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ leading scorer, missed practice Sunday morning because of an illness but will face the Penguins tonight at PPG Paints Arena.
After the morning skate, interim coach Scott Gordon said it would be a game-time decision.
Giroux took part in pregame warmups and was on a line with James van Riemsdyk and Nolan Patrick.
The Flyers’ captain leads the team in points (76), assists (56), and plus-minus rating (plus-16).
“He’s kind of the driving force behind a lot of different aspects, whether it’s the penalty kill, power play, and five-on five. Pretty much every situation runs through him,” said left winger James van Riemsdyk, who has nine goals in his last 10 games.
Giroux has played in 235 straight games since missing the last game of the 2015-16 season.
Winger Ryan Hartman, who missed the last game with the flu, took part in the morning skate and said he was able to play Sunday. Hartman will be on a line with Corban Knight and Phil Varone.
Giroux has 49 points (16-33) in 47 career games against Pittsburgh.
Rookie Carter Hart (2.85 GAA, .915 save percentage) will oppose the Penguins and will face Matt Murray (2.86, .915).
Hart was understandably rusty in his last outing, a 5-2 loss (with an empty-netter) Thursday against Washington. It was his first game after missing three weeks because of an ankle injury. Hart was pulled from his previous two starts before that, allowing three goals on nine shots in both games.
Samuel Morin, the mammoth defenseman who was the Flyers’ No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft (11th overall), is healthy but will sit out again Sunday.
After he returned to the Flyers following a brief rehab stint with Lehigh Valley last month, Morin has not played. The Flyers can’t send him back to the Phantoms because he would have to clear waivers – and he would probably be claimed by another team.
“As long as we’re in a position to still push for the playoffs (he’ll sit),” Gordon said. “Right now, he’s our eighth and he’ll stay that way unless there’s an injury.”
The Flyers are eight points out of a playoff spot with 11 games left.
If they are eliminated from playoff contention, Morin – who had knee surgery last May -- will get ice time.
“It would be in his best interest to get some games in,” Gordon said. “He’s put a lot of practice time in and obviously didn’t get much of a stint down in Lehigh with the waiver situation, but he’s responded well. He’s had all good days in practice. No repercussions.”
Getting some NHL games under his belt this season and knowing his knee will hold up “will make it easier for him for next year,” Gordon said.