After a trip to Lake Tahoe and a second game without most of their regular lineup, the Flyers are starting to turn the corner when it comes to available players. Captain Claude Giroux was back on the ice for the first time since going on the COVID list on Feb. 9, leading to the postponement of that night’s game against the Washington Capitals.
Giroux had some added energy at practice, and it doesn’t appear there will be an easing in process for him. Giroux skated on a line with Kevin Hayes and Nolan Patrick, and assuming he feels well enough following a brief skate on Wednesday morning, he will return to the lineup against the Rangers.
Alain Vigneault called Giroux a game-time decision.
“No doubt, having our captain back with our group is important for us and will be beneficial,” Vigneault said. “Today was his first skate. He’ll skate tomorrow even though we don’t have a team skate. We’ll talk after and see how he feels.”
“For a few days there, I had it pretty bad, but after three or four days, I felt pretty good and I feel great now,” Giroux said. “I feel good, practice today was good. It was a good pace. To get back on the ice, it was fun. It felt like the first day of camp.”
Giroux also said that he spent the last two weeks in Washington, finally returning home on Monday to see his family. His absence from the last two games snapped a consecutive games-played streak of 328 games.
“Watching the guys play was real tough,” Giroux said. “Obviously we had a lot of guys that were out of the lineup. I don’t remember the last time I watched the Flyers play at home. It wasn’t that fun. You want to be out there and help the team. It’s good to be back now.”
The Flyers will start to get more bodies back for practices to come in the coming days. Vigneault confirmed that Justin Braun will return on Wednesday, though he won’t play in that night’s game. That would bring the Flyers COVID list number down to four players, with Jake Voracek, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny remaining on the list.
The Flyers are in Buffalo over the weekend for a back-to-back, then travel for a pair of games in Pittsburgh before returning home for a four-game homestand.
More Games Rescheduled for Flyers
Speaking of the postponed game on Feb. 9, the Flyers had the remainder of their games rescheduled in the latest update for the NHL. Five more games were moved to accommodate previous postponements.
The rescheduled games are as follows:
- Flyers-Penguins, originally scheduled for April 13, will now be Saturday, March 6, at 1 p.m.
- Flyers-Bruins, originally scheduled for March 7, will now be Monday, April 5, at 7 p.m.
- Flyers-Bruins, originally scheduled for April 5, will now be Saturday, April 10, at 2 p.m.
- Flyers-Capitals, originally scheduled for Feb. 9, will now be Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m.
- Flyers-Rangers, originally scheduled for Feb. 14, will now be Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m.
The movement of the Pittsburgh game is a new addition, done to place the Flyers-Capitals game that was postponed a couple weeks ago. An additional meeting between the Flyers and Bruins was moved to reschedule the March 7 game that was moved in light of other rescheduling earlier in the month.
The good news is that this now places each of the remaining games on the Flyers schedule, so tentatively, their schedule is set for the remainder of the season. Everything is still subject to change, of course, but it appears the Flyers are slowly but surely coming to the end point of their COVID situation.