Flyers getting healthier, could have multiple players back this weekend


The Flyers are getting healthier before a busy stretch begins with a back-to-back set in Buffalo this weekend.

After fulfilling his mandated 14-day quarantine, Jakub Voracek was removed from the NHL's COVID protocol list on Thursday. The Flyers did not practice Thursday but there's a good chance Voracek skated at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey. He had been on the league's COVID protocol list since Feb. 11.

"Jakey has had no symptoms, so he's champing at the bits here," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said last Friday. "He understands the situation."

Prior to missing the Flyers' last three games, Voracek had played in 324 of a possible 328 games over these last five seasons. He is expected to practice with the club Friday at noon ET. One would think Voracek is going to try to give it a go Saturday against the Sabres (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Justin Braun returned to the ice Wednesday in the team's optional morning skate after a 15-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Braun tested positive for the coronavirus while the team was in Washington, D.C., and had its game postponed Feb. 9. The veteran defenseman is eyeing a return to the lineup Saturday.

"It was tough, probably four or five days where I was not in good shape," Braun said Wednesday. "After that, I've been recovering, getting a lot of sleep and trying to get my energy back. I feel good, it was great to be back on the ice today. Hopefully Saturday can get back in there and get back to a little normalcy."

Braun had to quarantine in D.C. for around 11 days, away from his wife Jessica and daughter Madison. He celebrated his 34th birthday in a D.C. hotel room the day after he went on the COVID protocol list.

"It was tough but I think for family-wise, it was probably ideal just staying down there, not getting them any of the infections," Braun said. "It was mentally tough but it was good to know that the family was safe at home, they tested negative and they're good to go."

Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny remained on the COVID protocol list Thursday night. Lindblom and Laughton on Thursday hit the final day of their 14-day quarantines, leaving Friday as a potential return to the ice for both forwards depending on if they're healthy and cleared. Konecny went on the COVID protocol list Feb. 14.

The Flyers got Claude Giroux back Wednesday in their 4-3 win over the Rangers. Starting Saturday, the club has a stretch of six games over nine days. The Flyers are 9-4-3 entering the weekend and have gone 1-1-1 through a difficult aftermath of a seven-day COVID-19 shutdown.

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