TAMPA, Fla. -- It's not every day a guy goes from the fourth line to the first line, but sometimes that happens when a player gets benched.
Ask Scott Hartnell and Zac Rinaldo.
Hartnell’s dumb roughing penalty early in the second period of the Flyers' 4-2 loss to the Lightning (see story) led to his benching and Rinaldo’s promotion. The penalty didn’t cost the Flyers a goal, but clearly, coach Peter Laviolette was sending a message to his team about focus and discipline.
Hartnell was benched, then moved to the fourth line, then back to the first line at the very end of the game with some power play in between. Rinaldo, however, played well with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek even though he didn’t have a shot on goal.
“I was really surprised but I played every shift to the best of my ability,” Rinaldo said. “We got to keep looking forward. Can’t be negative. We have to be positive.”
Hard to be positive as this team sits five days before playing again and could slip farther in the standings. The Flyers are five points out of a playoff spot.
“It sucks, not a good feeling at all,” Rinaldo said. “I thought we played good, we had a lot of chances. Bounces didn’t go right. We can’t be moping around. No one is going to feel sorry for us.”
Asked whether he thought the Hartnell benching was done to motivate the team in a positive way, Rinaldo agreed it was.
“I think so,” he said. “Some guys might get a spark from it. I played the best way I can. Hopefully I made an impact.”
Andrej Sustr, a 6-foot-8 defenseman from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, has decided to leave school and is available for offers, according to TSN.
And yes, the Flyers are interested.
“We saw him play earlier this season,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “There were 28 clubs watching him. Sure, we’re interested but so is everyone else. He played with our goalie.”
That would be Flyers prospect Anthony Stolarz, who was there this year, as well.
Flyers forward Harry Zolnierczyk was on the roster for this game so he could serve the fourth and final game of his NHL suspension. ... The Flyers are 0-10-0 when trailing after one period. ... Hard luck defenseman Andrej Meszaros left the ice in the third after blocking a shot but returned. He played 19:38. ... Steven Stamkos recorded his 200th career goal on an empty netter at the end. ... Laviolette elected to use Max Talbot’s line with Matt Read and Simon Gagne against the Bolts' top unit of Teddy Purcell, Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.