Although there was some initial speculation that 22-year-old John Klingberg might be able to return tonight, the Dallas Stars defenseman will miss his third straight game, per the Dallas Morning News’ Steve Hunt.
He hurt his knee during Dallas’ game against Tampa Bay on March 7 when Ryan Callahan caught him in an awkward position. He still managed to play on Tuesday, but Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo leveled him during the contest and Klingberg’s shoulder was injured as a result.
Given Klingberg’s recent string of setbacks, being more conscious of his surroundings and position will be an increased focus of his going forward.
“Obviously, I’m not the biggest guy ever, so a team, if they can tackle me and make mistakes out of that, they will want to do that,” Klingberg told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s something I’ve had my whole career, but it’s more over here. Stuff happens faster, and it’s more physical, so I’m going to have to be even more aware.”
Klingberg leads all rookie defensemen with 36 points in 53 games. He also has a plus-five rating and has averaged 21:38 minutes per contest.
Brayden Schenn scored twice and added an assist while Wayne Simmonds had a goal and two helpers as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The seven goals tied a season-high for the Flyers.
With the loss, Detroit has just one win in its last five and the Boston Bruins now trail them by just three points for third spot in the Atlantic Division.
Philly snaps a four-game losing skid with the win and trails Washington by 10 points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Zac Rinaldo had a goal and an assist while Nicklas Grossmann, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Read had the goals for Philly.
Claude Giroux had two assists in the win. Steve Mason improved to 14-15-10 with a 31 save performance.
Justin Abdelkader and Erik Cole had the Wings goals while Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots in the loss.
The Flyers acquired R.J. Umberger from the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a 2015 fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Scott Hartnell over the summer and so far that move hasn’t worked out for Philadelphia. If you want evidence of that, you need only watch tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars and notice the absence of Umberger, who will instead be in the press box.
Umberger, who initially broke into the NHL as a Flyer before spending six seasons with Columbus, has reached or surpassed the 50-point mark on three separate occasions, but he’s been limited to nine goals and 15 points in 67 games in 2014-15. Meanwhile, Hartnell has 43 points and 88 penalty minutes in 60 contests with Columbus.
“When things aren’t going well, that’s [the comparison to Hartnell] added pressure. You feel that,” Umberger told the Courier-Post. “I think the biggest thing that’s bothered me is that I feel like I’ve let (general manager Ron) Hextall down. He believed in me bringing me here and I feel like I just haven’t been the player for him that he needs.”
It’s worth noting that while he’s being regarded as a healthy scratch, he doesn’t appear to be 100 percent. He has been seen moving with a limp and has a somewhat bloodshot eye. Umberger, who has set an unwanted career-high by going 18 games without a goal, doesn’t want to use that as an excuse though.
“Everybody has injuries,” Umberger said.
Vinny Lecavalier will be inserted into the lineup as a fourth liner while Zac Rinaldo will move up to the third line due to Umberger’s absence.
Umberger comes with a $4.6 million annual cap hit and is signed through 2016-17.