Flyers Will Get Some Much-needed Help Wednesday

VOORHEES, N.J. - The "Wayne Train" had become as dependable as the Acela Express.

You don't question the reliability, you just expect each one to show up on time, as scheduled.

Sitting out seven meaningful games was significant for Wayne Simmonds because quite frankly, it had never happened. At least, not during his Flyers career. Simmonds also missed the final seven games of the 2014-15 season, but at that point, the Flyers were essentially eliminated from the postseason.

Simmonds, who suffered an upper-body injury in a 7-4 win over the Rangers on Feb. 18, will rejoin the Flyers Wednesday night when they host the Penguins for the final time this season.

"It sucks watching," Simmonds said. "I think the boys played well. It's nice to come back in and lend a helping hand. We're making a push right now and hopefully try to win our division, and hopefully, I can be an extra piece to help the boys out. I feel good. Skating, shooting, passing, everything like that."

In Simmonds' absence, the Flyers played respectably (4-2-1), but balanced scoring and contributions, offensively and defensively, from the bottom six of the lineup has become a concern more recently.

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"Not just scoring, but he's a big part of our team," Dave Hakstol said of Simmonds. "He looked good. I believe he's ready to go. I think it's about having all four lines that make sense."

Tuesday, Simmonds was paired with center Valtteri Filppula and left wing Jordan Weal, a line that found chemistry and caught fire last season when Weal scored all eight of his goals over a 16-game stretch. 

"It's probably going to take a few games to get back playing together again," Filppula said. "Sometimes there's not one real reason why things work out. Obviously, when you have a couple of good games, you start building confidence with that line as well and you know things are going to go well. Hopefully, we can get to that point."

Hakstol tried to push those buttons early in the season when he paired them together on their season-opening West Coast road trip, only to break them up after a 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona.

"That group has played together quite a bit. They had a lot of success at the end of the year last year together," Hakstol said. "They played eight games together earlier this year and because of a lot of different reasons, we had to go away from it. That group is real familiar with each other. It's a line that can play 200 feet, play real hard and always be a threat offensively."

Simmonds will also return to his familiar role on the No. 1 power-play unit. Simmonds is five goals shy of another 25-goal campaign, something he's done in every 82-game season since joining the Flyers.

"I've just got to come back and play my role right?" he said. "I like to score goals. I try to score goals as much as I can. Hopefully, it helps the team out."

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