By Peter Gleason
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, his left leg sliced by Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk in the third period of last Friday’s game in Raleigh, skipped Monday’s Flyers’ practice.
Giroux officially is day-to-day, but look for the Flyers’ top-line center to return for the start of a crucial four-game homestand.
Fourth-line left wing Zac Rinaldo (photo above) was filling in on the top line during Monday’s practice with Brayden Schenn at center and NHL scoring leader Jakub Voracek at right wing.
The Flyers called veteran center Ryan White up from the AHL on Monday, then waived him after practice for the purpose of returning him to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“He’s a fast player,” Voracek said of Rinaldo. “He’s hitting very hard. I don’t see the reason why we couldn’t score a goal or two (against Ottawa).
Maybe Voracek and Schenn can score a goal or two, but Rinaldo has none in 32 games this season and just seven in 197 career games.
“If I get a chance to play with those guys up there on the first line, then I’ll make the best of it and try to do my best up there,” Rinaldo said.
What seems a lot more likely is that the Flyers are expecting Giroux to return and thus Berube simply used Rinaldo on the top Monday so that he could keep his other lines in tact for practice. Before last Saturday’s game, a 5-2 Flyers loss to the Devils in Newark, Rinaldo was a healthy scratch five games in a row.
Rinaldo was forced into action against the Devils because the Flyers were without Giroux and rookie center Scott Laughton, who is good to go on Tuesday.