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Atkinson, Frost scratched as Flyers open homestand

The Flyers went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Blue Jackets

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Cam Atkinson, mired in a 22-game goal-scoring drought, was a healthy scratch Thursday night as the Flyers hosted his former team the Blue Jackets.

John Tortorella decided to sit the veteran winger and Morgan Frost. The Flyers' head coach rolled with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, as wingers Nicolas Deslauriers and Rhett Gardner drew into the lineup.

Consider this the Flyers shaking a few things up after losing five of their last six games. Tortorella was not made available to the media before Thursday night's game, but had talked about Atkinson's struggles two weeks ago.

"I know him well enough, he's going to try to figure this out," Tortorella said. "And he knows me well enough that it's not forever; I've been very patient."

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Atkinson played parts of six seasons under Tortorella in Columbus. He vouched for him when the Flyers were conducting their head coaching search after the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday night, Atkinson committed a costly tripping penalty that led to the Oilers' go-ahead 3-2 goal at the end of the second period. The Flyers went on to lose, 5-2, finishing their road trip 1-2-1.

Atkinson has eight goals and 10 assists in 37 games this season. He's a pro and one of the Flyers' leaders.

"If I'm not scoring, I've got to find ways to bring my energy and at least create chances for my linemates," Atkinson said two weeks ago. "I've got to be noticed somehow if I'm not scoring. I've always said, if I'm getting chances, they're eventually going to go in."

Frost sat for the 11th time this season. The 24-year-old center had put up six points (two goals, four assists) and a plus-4 rating over his last 11 games, but the Flyers still went with 11 forwards Thursday night.

"I love it here," Frost said after sitting for six straight games in October. "I love playing here and I think I can make a big impact here."

Noah Cates is getting closer to a return in his recovery from a broken foot. On Nov. 28, the Flyers announced the 24-year-old forward would miss six to eight weeks.

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