Flyers, thin on blue line, prepare for Coyotes

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers' blue line is suddenly in need of reinforcements.

Shayne Gostisbehere, who leads all NHL defensemen with 13 points in 11 games, is questionable for Monday night's game against the winless Arizona Coyotes with an upper-body injury.

Gostisbehere, who ranks second behind Ivan Provorov in average ice time (21 minutes, 8 seconds), was checked from behind into the glass by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov in the second period of Flyers' 4-2 win on Saturday night. He played one more shift after the hit, which was not penalized, and did not return for the third period.

"It's a tough hit. It's one that's got to be looked at," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told the South Jersey Courier-Post. "It's a hit in the numbers and it's a tough hit for our player."

The Flyers (6-5-0) already are without defenseman Andrew MacDonald (lower-body injury) for at least three more weeks and they returned from Toronto with just five healthy defensemen. If Gostisbehere is unable to play, the Flyers could recall rookie defenseman Sam Morin from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL.

Morin, 24, was the 11th player taken in the 2013 draft and has one game of NHL experience. In eight games with the Phantoms, he has one goal, three assists and is a plus-7. If the 6-foot-6 Morin plays against the Coyotes, it would give the Flyers three rookies (Morin, Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim) on their blue line.

The Coyotes (0-10-1) are the NHL's only team without a win. The Coyotes have allowed the most goals in the NHL (4.36 per game) while scoring only 2.36 goals per game, which ranks 26th in the NHL.

Arizona, which is on the fourth leg of a five-game road trip, is coming off a 4-3 loss in New Jersey on Saturday night, a game in which it led 3-2 in the third period before allowing two power-play goals.

"I thought the guys played great, they deserved to win," first-year Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said after his team's 11th straight defeat, which is tied for the longest losing streak to start an NHL season.

"When things go bad, you get two calls against you and the Devils have a great power play. ... One of the biggest things that plagues our team is when the pressure is on, someone makes an ill-advised play.

An interference penalty to Max Domi and a roughing minor to Christian Fischer led to the Devils' power-play goals as goaltender Louis Domingue (0-6-0, 4.33 goals-against average, .856 save percentage) lost for the sixth straight time.

Offensively, the Coyotes have been led by rookie center Clayton Keller, whose eight goals represent 31 percent of Arizona's offense. Taken seventh overall in the 2016 draft, Keller (12 points) has a five-game point streak and has recorded at least one point in all but three games for the Coyotes. However, Keller is a minus-10 and is one of 17 Coyotes on the wrong side of the plus-minus ledger. In fact, former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn (plus-1) is the only plus player for Arizona.

The Coyotes have allowed four or more goals in five straight games and in nine of their 11 games. They are hoping goaltender Antti Raanta (0-1-1, 3.33, .911) returns Monday from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him the past five games. Raanta has been practicing the past four days with the Coyotes.

The Coyotes also traded for former Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood on Saturday, adding depth between the pipes, and reassigned Adin Hill, who has played three games this season, to the AHL.
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