SUNRISE, Fla. -- Here’s something the Flyers have not had in so long, no one can remember: three right-handed shots on defense in the same lineup.
They will tonight when the banged-up Flyers meet the equally-injured Florida Panthers.
“Now we got more righties and pretty much every pair has a right-hander and that makes things easier, if you ask me,” offered veteran Kimmo Timonen.
The right-handers would be Luke Schenn, Bruno Gervais and Kurtis Foster, who says he is healthy now and will play.
“I like to play with a righty,” Timonen said. “The passes are easier. We’re not going to change anything in systems.
“When a lefty plays on the right side, that is not his side. Personally, I like the left side and around the league, 95 percent of your left-handed defensemen like it there. It’s the normal spot.”
Chris Pronger was the exception. He played the right side.
“It’s easier to move the puck on breakouts with guys moving pucks to their forehand,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “When it comes to keeping possession on the puck, movement and sliding side-to-side, it’s a lot easier.”
Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder) won’t be back for quite a while, which means the Flyers are a little less mobile. They’ll miss his shot, as well.
“We’re going to do everything the way we’ve been trying to doing it,” Laviolette said. “Kurtis was in there. And Bruno came in and he’s really mobile for me. They’re both different in what they’re bringing.
“With Bruno sitting out first couple games and it was a numbers thing, now he comes in there and he’s really mobile on the ice. Our defense has done a really good job coming out of our end and moving through the neutral zone and making plays.”
Foster had been nursing some bruises but said he could have played against the Rangers. He said he’s fully healthy now.
“I wasn’t 100 percent and it was something I was dealing with but it was coach’s decision in the end,” Foster said. “I’m just excited to get back tonight. I just gotta shoot the puck and get it to the net.”
The pairs remained unsettled as of the morning skate. But Foster expected to be with Gervais.
Mike Knuble had his first practice since signing as Scott Hartnell’s replacement (left foot) for the foreseeable future.
Knuble was on Ruslan Fedotenko’s line with Brayden Schenn at the skate.
“It’s always going to be a little of a work in progress,” Knuble said. “The edge the guys have on me is that they have played four games and I’ve had one [in Grand Rapids]. That will be half the battle, getting my legs going so I won’t be overtaxed in the beginning.”
He is uncertain where he is from a game-conditioning standpoint.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “You gotta be honest and the fact is, there hasn’t been a lot of games played. That has to come. And there isn’t any time to work on it, either. You’ve got games and that’s the time to do the conditioning.”
Knuble probably gets on the second unit power play tonight, as well.
“I’ll probably move around a little bit with the injuries,” he said. “When we get healthy again, I think I’m smart enough to know where I stand on the team. It’s going to be a fun ride. You go out and do the best you can.
Laviolette said he’ll watch his minutes.
“You’re talking about a seasoned pro here who has probably played every system there is,” Laviolette said.