Scott Laughton isn’t the only Flyer never to beat the Rangers. But he has an excuse. Unlike Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Eric Wellwood, he’s never faced them.
After going 0-for-the-season vs. Henrik Lundqvist and the Broadway gang a year ago, Peter Laviolette’s club should be anxious to make amends when they square off Thursday (7 p.m., CSN). That would be the case even if the Flyers (0-3) hadn’t gotten off to such a wretched start in this truncated 48-game season.
But none of that is on the mind of the 18-year-old Laughton. The Flyers’ first pick in last June’s draft is on a five-game tryout as he attempts to convince the organization he should stick around. Following this one and Saturday’s game at Florida, the Flyers must either keep him — starting the clock on his contract and eventual free agency — or send him back to Juniors in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
In a similar predicament last season, the Flyers decided to keep Couturier and never regretted it. In terms of Laughton, they have liked what they’ve seen up to this point, an opportunistic player who seems to have a nose for the puck and doesn’t mind banging bodies. But with Danny Briere due back soon, there may not be a regular place for him in the lineup.
“I have no clue,’’ said GM Paul Holmgren after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the Devils. “He’s played good and we’ll continue to see how he does. It’s not like we’re waiting to see if he fails. He’s continued to play well and do little things that seem to be beyond his years. But we don’t need to make any quick decisions today.”
Perhaps not. But they do need to start winning games, presumably starting with a Rangers team that has had their number. Otherwise, in a season where prolonged slumps can be fatal, it might not be long before there is no tomorrow.
Schenn suspended and fined
If things weren’t already bad enough for the Flyers, they got a bit worse Wednesday when the NHL announced Brayden Schenn has been suspended for a game for leaving his feet to hit Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in Tuesday’s game.
Schenn was also fined $4,703 for the offense, which will force Peter Laviolette to juggle lines again. After starting the season on Claude Giroux’s line, the 22-year-old Schenn centered Wayne Simmonds and rookie Tye McGuin against the Devils.
Schenn will be able to return to the lineup Saturday when the Flyers travel to Florida to meet the Panthers, then face the Lightning in Tampa Bay the following night.