Flyers Notes: Simon Gagne is warmly greeted in his return to the Flyers

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby fails to stop the shot by Philadelphia Flyers' Simone Gagne in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013, in Philadelphia. Holtby was replaced by Michal Neuvirth. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby fails to stop the shot by Philadelphia Flyers' Simone Gagne in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013, in Philadelphia. Holtby was replaced by Michal Neuvirth. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek) (Tom Mihalek)
Posted: March 01, 2013

After taking a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, Simon Gagne missed the Flyers' morning skate Wednesday because he needed to catch up on sleep.

Now he hopes to wake up the Flyers' offense. He got off to a good start, scoring a power-play goal, his first tally of the season, in the Flyers' 4-1 win over Washington.

Acquired Tuesday from the Kings for a conditional fourth-round pick, the veteran winger began the night on a line with Sean Couturier and Max Talbot.

Gagne received a rousing ovation, and he waved to the home crowd as a video of his career was shown on the scoreboard during a first-period stoppage.

"He's an experienced forward who comes in and gives us a lot of different options on how to use him," coach Peter Laviolette said before the game. "He's a smart defensive player, he's a proven goal scorer; he can kill some penalties, can help on the power play, so he brings a lot to the table and to our lineup, along with experience."

Gagne scored 259 goals in 10 years with the Flyers, but he has not been his old self since he was traded to Tampa Bay after the 2009-10 season.

He had 17 goals in one season with the Lightning, then managed seven goals in 34 games with the Kings last season, one that was marred by a concussion. He had no goals in 11 games with Los Angeles this season, and he was a healthy scratch six times.

Gagne, 32, was frustrated by his lack of playing time with the Kings.

"It's part of the game, and now it's behind me, and it's time to focus on what I have to do to help the Flyers to win," he said.

Wednesday was his first game since Feb. 17.

"When I came here, he was the leader here," said Danny Briere, referring to the 2007-08 season. "This was his team. . . . I know it's a little different position for him [now], but he's a great leader."

Gagne replaced the injured Tye McGinn, while Harry Zolnierczyk went back into the lineup as Mike Knuble was scratched. Zolnierczyk gave Gagne his No. 12 and he wore No. 37.

Read skates in pain

Matt Read skated at practice and took a few shots for the first time since he tore a muscle in his left rib cage last week in Pittsburgh. Read said that he was in "a lot of pain" and that he was far from returning. He is expected to miss five more weeks.

Breakaways

Jody Shelley underwent hip surgery on Wednesday. . . . Kimmo Timonen has plantar fasciitis - he wears a boot in the locker room - but says it does not affect him on the ice. . . . Ilya Bryzgalov wore a mask with a Star Wars theme. One side featured Yoda with a Flyers orange light saber instead of a green one.

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