VOORHEES, N.J. — Shayne Gostisbehere was one of the first to grace the ice Tuesday morning at Flyers Skate Zone.
As the defenseman began warming up with a light skate, he flipped a shot on net.
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He then took another, followed by many more.
His swollen right hand was fine.
“Ready to go,” Gostisbehere said after practice.
Last season’s Calder Memorial Trophy (best rookie) runner-up missed last Sunday’s 1-0 overtime win after taking a shot off the non-shooting hand in Saturday’s game.
“It just made more sense for the team,” Gostisbehere said. “It was a team decision. A guy who’s 100 percent is going to be better than me [not at 100 percent], more effective. You’ve got to put the team first there and it worked out for us.”
It didn’t cost the Flyers their winning streak, which is now at nine games. Gostisbehere will be back Wednesday night when the Flyers visit the Colorado Avalanche (10/TCN), looking to win their most games in succession since Oct. 19-Nov. 17, 1985, when they knocked off 13 in a row.
Gostisbehere’s health is good news for the Flyers a day after they received the bad news of defenseman Mark Streit having to miss two weeks (sprained left shoulder). Gostisbehere is the first-string quarterback of the NHL’s second-ranked power play, while Streit has effectively played second fiddle. The 11th-year blueliner, who turned 39 years old on Sunday, has five goals and 11 assists for 16 points, six of which have come on the man advantage.
Without both players, the Flyers’ power play would have seen some adjustments up top. However, Gostisbehere said Streit’s absence didn’t force the 23-year-old back any sooner than anticipated.
“It’s unfortunate what happened to Streiter, injuries happen of course,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s going to be a big hole back there for us. But, yeah, I was always planning on practicing.”
Gostisbehere’s hand looked fine, just like he did in practice.
“It’s good right now, I think I’m playing out there,” he said. “I’ll be effective and good to go.”
Added Flyers coach Dave Hakstol: “I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody. He’s good to go.”
Also good to go is defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who’s expected to take Streit’s place in the lineup. Del Zotto had been a healthy scratch for consecutive games before playing Sunday for Gostisbehere.
The 26-year-old had a three-game benching, as well, before playing the first seven games of this winning streak, a stretch in which he compiled a pair of goals and assists.
Compared to missing 40 straight games between the end of 2015-16 and the start of this season because of two separate injuries, Del Zotto feels great.
“It’s unfortunate that injuries do happen. It’s unfortunate to have Streiter go down, but I’ve just got to go out and play my game,” Del Zotto said. “The last seven games I’ve been in since I was out those three games in a row, I thought I’ve played really well. I’ve been happy with my game — I’ve been defending hard, reliable with the puck, making smart plays. I’ve contributed with some offense, a couple of goals, a few points. That’s all I’m really trying to do, there’s no secret to my game. I just want to defend hard, be responsible in my own end and if an opportunity does arise offensively, try to make the most of it.”
Prior to going down last season with a wrist injury around mid-December, Del Zotto was leading the Flyers in ice time (23:25) and gelled with Gostisbehere.
“I missed nine months,” Del Zotto said. “I’m just trying to get my comfort level back, kind of get in the rhythm of things again. I thought I did that the last six or seven games … I was feeling back to myself.
“Just have to keep the consistency level there and when my name is called upon, just be there and contribute to the team, which I know I can.”