NEW YORK — Left winger Michael Raffl returned to the Flyers' lineup Tuesday after missing six games with an apparent shoulder injury.
He replaced Scott Laughton, who has not scored in his last 20 games but played well and had several scoring chances in Sunday's 4-3 overtime win over Boston.
Raffl, who went into the night with 11 goals and a plus-2 rating this season, played left wing on a line with center Jori Lehtera and right winger Matt Read.
"Raf's been out for a couple weeks and he's a real important player to our team," coach Dave Hakstol said before the Flyers played the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center. "… He can play the role of fourth-line winger and take parts of the penalty kill and play a very similar role as Scotty Laughton."
Hakstol said he was happy with Laughton's play.
"If you watched the game the other night, he had two or three really good scoring chances, so it's not that," he said of his benching. "We have healthy bodies and we're going to need everybody to be successful."
Laughton (10 goals, minus-10) had been one of five Flyers to play in every game this season. Including Tuesday, Ivan Provorov, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Jake Voracek have played in all 80 games.
On one hand, Hakstol would like to get veteran goalie Brian Elliott — who hasn't played since Feb. 10 because he underwent core-muscle surgery — into one of the last two regular-season games to get ready for the playoffs.
On the other hand, if Elliott isn't sharp and he costs the team a loss, it could hurt them in the standings. The Flyers entered Tuesday with a magic number of three points — that is, the combined total of points they gain and Florida fails to secure — to clinch a playoff berth.
They are also trying to finish as high as second in the Metropolitan Division.
"We have a lot on the line here and I'm not really looking past tonight," Hakstol said before Tuesday's game.
The Flyers finish the regular season with home games against Carolina (Thursday) and the New York Rangers (Saturday).
"I think there's a huge benefit if we're able to lock up a playoff spot and able to get him back into a game," Hakstol said. "But whether or not we're going to be able to do that, we'll continue to evaluate game by game here — based on his readiness and where we're at as a team."
Petr Mrazek made his third start in the last four games Tuesday.