Flyers Notes: Flyers' Scott Hartnell rounding into form in his return from broken foot

Scott Hartnell returns to the ice from a broken foot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Scott Hartnell returns to the ice from a broken foot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 02, 2013

Simon Gagne isn't the only Flyers winger who is back.

So is Scott Hartnell.

Oh, Hartnell has played three games since returning from a broken left foot, but it wasn't until Wednesday that he started to assert himself, keying the Flyers' 4-1 win over Washington.

Hartnell was more physical and quicker than in any of his other games since he returned, and he picked up a pair of primary assists - one in which he won a puck battle in front and, from his knees, sent a pass to Claude Giroux for an easy goal.

"I think it took a couple games to feel comfortable and up to speed with them," said Hartnell, referring to linemates Giroux and Jake Voracek. "I felt like the first couple of games they were hitting the blue line four or five strides before I got there. I think [Wednesday] I was right there with them, if not ahead a couple of times.

"It's been my best game this whole year," Hartnell added after Thursday's optional practice in Voorhees. "It's only been six, but I felt pretty good."

The Flyers (10-11-1) will try to even their record for the first time this season when they host surprising Ottawa at noon Saturday. In their previous attempts to reach .500 this season, the Flyers are 0-6 and have been outscored, 29-12.

Ottawa took a five-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Boston. The Senators have been clicking despite losing several key players to injuries, including forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, defenseman Erik Karlsson, and goalie Craig Anderson.

"If you're looking at a team that has every reason to be down and out, it's the Ottawa Senators," Hartnell said. "Spezza is out, and one of the best defensemen in the league [Karlsson] is out, and it's like they're playing better. So we have no excuses" for letting up. "We have to be ready to go."

Breakaways. Goalie Michael Leighton and winger Tom Sestito were put on waivers as the Flyers try to send them to the AHL Phantoms. . . . Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who took a shot off his shin against Washington, is expected to find out Friday if he can play Saturday. . . . No NHL hearing was scheduled for Harry Zolnierczyk, who was given a five-minute kneeing penalty for a hit on Washington's Matthew Perreault. . . . Winger Mike Knuble took a puck to the face at Thursday's practice and sported a fat lip.

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