Injuries force Berube to shake up Flyers' lines

Injuries force Berube to shake up Flyers' lines
January 4, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Entering Saturday's contest with Phoenix, the Flyers have gone 3-1-0 on their current six-game road trip. (USA Today Images)

GLENDALE, Arizona -- Lineup changes will be the norm Saturday night when the Flyers meet the Phoenix Coyotes.

Both Michael Raffl (concussion) and Matt Read (upper body) will not play (see story). That forces Flyers coach Craig Berube into making some line changes.

Steve Downie will move to Claude Giroux’s top unit with Jakub Voracek as Raffl’s replacement. That line had been very effective during the nine games they were together.

They were smokin’ hot: 11 goals, 25 assists for 36 points, highlighted by Giroux’s 16 points (six goals) and Voracek’s 13 points (four goals). Raffl had a goal and seven points.

Downie doesn’t have the speed of Raffl, but he brings the checking grit the line requires.

“He’s good at that, good in the offensive zone down low and can get pucks out and get to the net,” Berube said. “I don’t want to mix the lines up too much. Jake has a lot of speed.”

Zac Rinaldo will replace Read on Sean Couturier’s line with Vinny Lecavalier.

“Zac’s been good without the puck, he skates hard and is physical and he’s been staying out of the penalty box which is good,” Berube said.

“He needs to start doing more with the puck -- get shots on net, get to the net, get some greasy goals.”

That’s not likely to happen given Rinaldo has just one assist in 41 games this season.

Rookie Chris VandeVelde, who has been a healthy scratch for four games, will center Jay Rosehill and Adam Hall.

Hall will continue taking most of the faceoffs on that unit.

Berube said all these lines could change as the game goes on.

The Flyers' nine-day, five-game Western road trip ends tonight. They will return to Philadelphia after the game and practice Monday at Skate Zone before facing the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Loose pucks
Because of tonight's Eagles playoff game, the Flyers will re-air their game against Phoenix on Sunday at 8 p.m. on CSN and at 5 p.m. on TCN.