Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal in, Nick Cousins out

Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal in, Nick Cousins out

NEWARK, N.J. -- In comes one forward, out goes the other.

That was the case for the Flyers on Thursday as they took on the Devils at the Prudential Center, trying to keep their heart beating in the playoff race.

Jordan Weal, who missed Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Penguins because of lower-body injury, returned to the lineup and rejoined the team's top line.

The 24-year-old has played well since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Feb. 10. Entering Thursday, he had three goals and an assist in 11 games.

"Did some testing and stuff like that [Wednesday] to see if everything was all good and it was good news," Weal said pregame Thursday. "I'm ready to go now."

Weal has added much-needed speed and playmaking to the Flyers.

"He's proven so far he’s ready to take advantage of this opportunity and help our team, and that's what a player needs to do to be in the lineup," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "He's done that from the first day he came in.

"He's continued to earn his way, game by game. He's a hungry player, and that's the way he's played every day."

Weal would not say he was 100 percent healthy.

"It is what it is, but we’re going to keep on moving forward," he said. "It will be good." 

Clearly good enough to give it a go for the Flyers, who were without Nick Cousins because of an upper-body injury. It's uncertain when Cousins suffered the injury but he is day to day. Playing limited minutes of late, Cousins totaled 8:52 of ice time in Wednesday's game.

Meanwhile, defenseman Brandon Manning missed a third straight game. He's recovering from an upper-body injury.

"Manning, he was good [Wednesday]," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "Today, he's a little sore, so he's back to day to day."

Defenseman Nick Schultz replaced Manning for the third game in a row.

Forward Michael Raffl, who is expected to be out the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury, is on schedule in his recovery, according to Hextall.

Dale Weise back into Flyers' lineup for injured Jordan Weal

Dale Weise back into Flyers' lineup for injured Jordan Weal

The Flyers' lineup will see a few changes tonight against the visiting Penguins, but not just because head coach Dave Hakstol is looking for some kind of spark with the team's playoff hopes on life support.

Hakstol will be forced to make changes because of an injury.

Winger Jordan Weal will miss Wednesday's game with what GM Ron Hextall called a lower-body injury. Weal is considered day to day.

But one player's misfortune is another player's chance.

Dale Weise, who has sat out the last six games a healthy scratch, will draw back in vs. Pittsburgh.

Weise, who inked a four-year contract with the Flyers in the offseason, is itching to get back into the lineup and contribute. He has just two goals in the 50 games he's played this year.

"I've been scratched so many times this year, I guess you have a different mindset every time you come back in," said Weise, who's been a healthy scratch 15 times this season and was suspended for three more games for a high hit early in the year.

"First couple of times getting scratched, it's frustrating. You get a chip on your shoulder when you come back and you're motivated. When it happens so many times, you can get lost. It's really frustrating. ... I don't know what to tell you guys. It's the same thing. Play a couple games, sit out for a couple games. It's really hard to get into a rhythm that way."

Hakstol thinks Weise can help against a deep and speedy Penguins team.

"[Weise] brings a couple different things," Hakstol said. "He brings a little bit of speed to our lineup. We need a real good, tenacious two-way game out of him tonight. That's what we're looking for.

"We need a straight-lined, hard-nosed presence with some pace to it."

Since his call-up before the game vs. San Jose on Feb. 11, Weal has shown offensive talent for a Flyers team that has desperately needed it. Heading into Wednesday's game vs. their interstate rivals, the Flyers are averaging just 2.50 goals per game, good for just 24th in the league.

In 11 games this season, Weal has three goals and an assist. He's also had six games of three or more shots on net, so he's proven he's not afraid to fire away to try and make something happen.

Weal earned the trust of the coaching staff to the point where he was placed on the top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds for the last seven games, starting with the outdoor game in Pittsburgh on Feb. 25.

But with Weal out, Weise is prepared for his latest chance.

"Sometimes you lose your confidence and can't get in a rhythm," he said. "You see it happen to a ton of guys. ... Mentally, it definitely wears on you when you're in and out like that. Every time I come back in, I have a positive attitude. I mentally reset and try to go from there."

Hakstol said Weise will not take Weal’s spot on the top line. Nor will Nick Cousins, who skated with Giroux and Simmonds during Wednesday's morning skate. Cousins is expected to return Wednesday after he was a healthy scratch Monday in the loss to Columbus. Roman Lyubimov is expected to be the odd man out against the Pens.

Brayden Schenn could be the best candidate to slide up and take the top-line wing role.

"We’ve had tough lineup decisions to make all year and none of those are easy," Hakstol said.

Manning update
Brandon Manning participated in morning skate on Wednesday, but he's still day to day with nagging upper-body injuries and is not expected to play Wednesday against the Penguins.

According to CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio, Manning suffered the injuries Saturday in Boston during a first-period fight and then the injuries were exacerbated after he stayed in the game and absorbed hits.

"A couple things going on, so I'm just trying to get back to 100 percent and be at my best," Manning said. "I feel pretty good. But when you go out there and play, you need to be able to protect yourself and be able to compete and battle. I'm just not quite there yet."

Flyers Notes: Jordan Weal sees another goal challenged, continues to impress

Flyers Notes: Jordan Weal sees another goal challenged, continues to impress

BOSTON -- One of these days, Jordan Weal is going to score a goal and not have to worry about it going to review.
 
Or whether one of his teammates was offside on the play when it began 15 seconds before he scored.
 
Weal posted his third goal in 10 games Saturday during the Flyers' stunning 2-1 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden (see game story).
 
Once again, he had a goal challenged.
 
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy felt Wayne Simmonds was offside much earlier in the play.
 
Against Colorado recently, Weal scored his first career goal and had it challenged for Simmonds being offside as well.
 
In both cases now, the goal call was upheld.
 
"Hopefully, we can get one that is very definitive," Weal said.
 
The NHL general managers declined to change the offside rule at this past week's meetings. The fact that teams can and often challenge for an offside that might have happened 20 or 30 seconds earlier seems ridiculous.
 
Weal says he understands, though.
 
"They're trying to make the game as fair as possible," Weal said. "If it's offside, it's offside. If it's onside, it’s onside."
 
He'll survive
Brandon Manning, who accidentally deflected Drew Stafford's game-winning goal past Steve Mason with 5.6 seconds left in regulation, said teammates comforted him afterward, knowing he was merely trying to block a shot.
 
Coach Dave Hakstol said it won't change the way Manning plays or have an effect on the Flyers' next game Monday against Columbus.
 
Manning also had a fight with Matt Beleskey two minutes into the game.
 
"He and everybody in our room knows what a warrior he is for us," Hakstol said. "Right from the start of this hockey game.
 
"That is not going to change in anyone's mind. He's a huge part of our team. He's a character man. He's going to be just fine on Monday night."
 
Stafford's shot
On the game-winner, Stafford said could have shot the puck coming into the zone sooner and hoped for a rebound in front.
 
"I was just trying to create some space for myself instead of just throwing it in," Stafford said. "You can have a little bit more time so you can get a little bit more bodies to the net."
 
He said he wanted to wait until someone trailing could go to the net before he shot.
 
"I knew I had a few seconds left, at least," Stafford said. "Other than that, an extremely lucky break I guess, but we'll take it."
 
Line changes
Hakstol changed up his lines for Saturday's game. Travis Konecny, celebrating his 20th birthday, moved from the fourth line to left wing on Valtteri Filppula's unit with Jakub Voracek. Brayden Schenn moved to right wing on Sean Couturier's line with Matt Read switching to left wing. Nick Cousins took Konecny's spot on the fourth line.