Flyers-Blues 5 Things: Why Still Bench Shayne Gostisbehere?

Flyers (26-20-7) vs. Blues (25-22-5)
7 p.m. on CSN, and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night for Game 3 of their season-long five-game homestand.

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Let's get you ready for the game with five things to know.

1. Back to the bench?
Travis Konecny will return tonight, but Shayne Gostisbehere will be benched for a third straight game and it's hard to comprehend why.

Have both Gostisbehere and Konecny not worked on the "couple different things that they're aware of that they can improve," according to head coach Dave Hakstol?

Yes, it appears Hakstol wants to feature more of a tight, judicious style of play - and that will keep his team in most games - but goals still have to be scored. In Saturday's 1-0 overtime loss to the Kings, the Flyers got defensive but put just 17 shots on goal.

Gostisbehere and Konecny bring too much offensive potential to continually sit in favor of 34-year-old Nick Schultz and role forward Dale Weise. Gostisbehere and Konecny understand where Hakstol wants them to grow - eventually, both need to play and be trusted defensively and instinctually.

And, not to mention, young players being with the big club and not playing doesn't exactly jive with general manager Ron Hextall's development plan.

2. Neuvirth's time
Battling through a poor start to the season, as well as missing over a month with a knee injury, Michal Neuvirth has found his best stretch of the season.

The goalie is 2-0-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in his last three starts. He was brilliant against Los Angeles, making 27 saves, and deserved much better than an overtime defeat.

He'll make his third consecutive start against the Blues.

"Like I said so many times, the more I play, the better I play," Neuvirth said postgame Saturday.

"I was coming into the game feeling confident, calm and just feeling good about myself right now and playing with confidence."

3. Singing the Blues
The Blues have fallen on rocky times.

Last Wednesday, St. Louis fired head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Prior to the season, many saw the Blues as a favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final. But currently, St. Louis is in fourth place in the Central Division and does not hold a playoff spot, going 5-9-0 since Jan. 5.

The Blues also lost center Robby Fabbri (11 goals, 18 assists) for the remainder of the season because of an ACL injury suffered Saturday. The 21-year-old had a hat trick back on Dec. 28 against the Flyers in his team's 6-3 win.

Still, St. Louis has plenty of offensive firepower and strong special teams but is also allowing the fifth-most goals per game at 3.10.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Jakub Voracek is pointless over the last two games, so you know he's due for an outbreak. He has six goals and 10 assists in 26 career games against the Blues.

Blues: We're going to say center Jaden Schwartz, who has 11 points in his last 12 games and two goals in five career matchups with the Flyers.

5. This and that
• Neuvirth is 2-1-0 with a 3.33 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in three career games against St. Louis.

• Blues goalie Jake Allen is 18-14-3 this season with a 2.82 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He's faced the Flyers just once in his career when he allowed four goals on 31 shots in a 4-3 loss at the Wells Fargo Center last season.

• St. Louis is 8-13-1 on the road compared to 17-9-4 at home.

• The Flyers' penalty kill is 16 for it last 18.

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