Deep down, Scott Hartnell thought his left foot was broken.
He’d been playing since blocking a shot Jan. 14 in Buffalo, but something didn’t feel right. There were aches, he said. There was soreness -- especially when he laced up his skates.
Fortunately for Hartnell, though, a CT scan on his foot came back negative, and Hartnell is OK to play tonight at the Wells Fargo Center against the Detroit Red Wings (see game notes).
“It’s obviously a big relief,” Hartnell said. “I’ve just got to play through the discomfort.”
Thanks to some line shuffling by coach Craig Berube, Hartnell will play on the Flyers’ top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, where he started the season. Michael Raffl, who had been the line’s left wing, moved to the fourth line.
“He’s [Hartnell] been a good player for us,” Berube said. “Good to see him out there. We were a little worried after [Saturday’s] game, but it turned into a positive. It’s good.”
Hartnell has been wearing a walking boot off the ice and skate protectors when he’s on it. He’s also been icing his foot after every practice and game. He doesn’t, however, expect it to interfere with his play tonight.
“I’m pretty close to 100 percent,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s 70 or 60 or something like that. Kimmo [Timonen] blocks so many shots he’s got ice bags on his entire body after almost every game. I could go right down the list of guys.
“We’re a competitive bunch and something like this won’t slow me down and hopefully won’t slow us down.”
Meszaros or Gustafsson?
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson returned to the Flyers’ lineup in Saturday’s loss to the Boston Bruins. Andrej Meszaros was a healthy scratch in his place.
The same defensemen will play tonight against the Red Wings. Meszaros, it turns out, played his way out of the Flyers’ lineup -- defensively, at least. The 28-year-old defenseman actually had registered five points (three goals) in his last five games.
“Mesz’s defensive play has fallen,” Berube said. “And I didn’t like his play in Columbus, so I went with Gus.”
Rinaldo getting closer
Zac Rinaldo is working his way back from a high-ankle sprain, and though his status was elevated to day to day on Monday, he won’t be in the lineup tonight.
“I’m definitely getting closer, feeling great,” Rinaldo said. “…I’m feeling good, I’m ready to go any day now.”
He added that Tuesday’s morning skate was the first time he didn’t feel any “tweaks” while out on the ice.
The Flyers will be happy to have him back -- possibly as early as Thursday’s game in Anaheim.
“He’s an important player for us for sure,” Berube said. “His energy and his skating and physical play. When you’re missing players, your team’s still got to come up with wins and still play like a team and do things. Injuries happen. That’s an excuse.”
Steve Mason gets the start in net tonight. Like the rest of the Flyers, he's struggled recently. In Saturday's loss to the Bruins, in which he was pulled, Mason allowed four goals. In his previous start against the Carolina Hurricanes, he gave up three.
Mason will face Jonas Gustavsson, who is 13-3-3 with a .914 save percentage.