Carter Hart, Scott Laughton with “pretty wild” and “frustrating” weather eager to help the Flyers
Mike Yeo and the Flyers know they have an important game ahead of them as they try to make their four-game road trip a success.
For this important game, they will get at least one important player – and quite possibly two.
Scott Laughton and Carter Hart joined the Flyers in Anaheim, Calif., For practice Monday. Laughton will enter the roster on Tuesday against the Ducks while Hart is expected to adjust and may start (10 p.m. ET / NBCSP).
Laughton and Hart missed the first three games of the Flyers’ West Coast road trip due to COVID protocols. The Flyers are 1-1-1 on the trip. Hart, their number 1 goalie, hasn’t played since December 16.
“My first conversation with him this morning was that he was feeling good,” said Yeo, the Flyers’ interim head coach, Monday after his team trained at the Honda Center. “But we wanted to make sure we finished practice, to see how he is doing coming off the ice. I expect him to be in the lineup and would say there is a good chance that he will be up for tomorrow.
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Hart missed the Flyers’ last game before the NHL-mandated holiday break on Dec. 18 with the flu. When the team returned from the extended break, he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I had the flu for a few days, I wasn’t feeling well at all,” Hart said. “Then come back after the break, test positive, and have fairly mild symptoms, if any. It was pretty wild.”
Hart is 2-0-0 with 70 saves on 73 career shots against the Ducks. If he starts on Tuesday, it will be his first game in 19 days.
“I feel great now,” Hart said. “It’s nice to be back with the boys. Sitting in your apartment all day isn’t much fun so it’s good to be back with the boys here in Cali too. good on the ice today was nice to continue; i haven’t touched the ice in a while so i had to shake off the rust and it was good to get back into the mix with the boys.
Laughton also dealt with COVID-19 in February of last season. His own 14-day quarantine combined with the team’s mandatory shutdown, Laughton had missed nearly three weeks. It then lost its taste and smell, which resulted in some weight loss.
“I felt really weird at the end of last year,” Laughton said in September during training camp. “Almost weak and a little frail.”
This season, Laughton said it was “frustrating” and “exhausting” to run out of time after the holidays. The 27-year-old striker said he cleaned his apartment and spent time with his fiancee Chloe and their cat.
“I had no symptoms, I was really surprised that I tested positive,” Laughton said. “You are just trying to follow league protocols and follow them, but yeah, it’s frustrating. It’s a tough situation in the world right now and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Forward Jackson Cates, defenseman Nick Seeler and a club staff member were put on the NHL’s COVID protocol list on Monday. With Cates now out, the Flyers can simply hook up Laughton without having to make any other changes up front, unless there’s another unforeseen absence.
However, the Flyers will not find Derick Brassard. He left COVID protocol with Laughton and Hart but didn’t end up making the trip to California. The 34-year-old forward also faced a hip problem, having missed 14 of the team’s last 15 games.
“It was a change of plan,” Yeo said. “He didn’t end up flying away, he wouldn’t have been an option for tomorrow.… We thought it was better for him to stay behind and skate there. I really want him. see in practice before throwing him into a game, but he’s not ready for tomorrow’s game. “
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Laughton and potentially Hart are valuable additions. Laughton is a Swiss Army knife and plays a career-high 16:02 minutes per game, while Hart has a career-best save percentage of .918 to go along with a 2.74 goals against average.
The Flyers (13-13-6) just suffered a 6-3 New Year’s Day loss to the Kings, who ended their best seven-game streak with at least one point of the season. A victory on Tuesday would give them a successful road trip and more progress under Yeo. A loss would give them three losses in four games.
“I think it’s a very important game,” said Yeo. “First of all, you want to bounce back from a loss; that’s what good teams do. We lost the last game – we created more opportunities, we kind of got back there but not really – So we want to bounce back. We win that game tomorrow and I think we all come home feeling pretty good about the trip. Not necessarily a great trip, but a pretty good trip.
“It gives us a chance to get back on the horse, to build momentum for some upcoming home games. We find this game important to make it a good road trip, but I think more importantly, let’s bounce back, let’s show that last game isn’t who we are and get back to the winning column. “
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