Flyers news

Flyers get a key forward back at an important time

Cates missed 22 games because of a broken foot

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With Sean Couturier set to miss a second straight game, the Flyers got a timely reinforcement in Noah Cates.

Couturier, the Flyers' first-line center, is dealing with what the team called a minor injury and won't play Monday against the Blues (8 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Along with Couturier, recent trade acquisition Jamie Drysdale (illness) will be unavailable again. Without both players, the Flyers found a way to knock off the Jets, 2-0, Saturday night.

Cates, one of the team's most responsible, defensively-sound forwards, will make his return in St. Louis. The 24-year-old missed 22 games because of a broken foot, an injury he suffered toward the end of November.

As a rookie last season, Cates blossomed into the Flyers' best defensive forward, drawing comparisons to Couturier by his teammates. This season, prior to his injury, Cates' minutes (14:25 per game) and offense (four points) had been down. However, he's a guy the Flyers will rely on for some of their toughest matchups.

If the absences of Couturier and Drysdale aren't lengthy, the Flyers will have daily lineup decisions moving forward.

John Tortorella sees that as a positive.

"You're not going to have everybody happy about things when your team is growing," the Flyers' head coach said last Wednesday. "So to me, it's a really good sign having to make tough decisions because you have more bodies and your team is growing and evolving."

Carter Hart will be in net for the Flyers tonight and defenseman Marc Staal will come out of the lineup with Cates' return. The Flyers are going for a fourth straight win and a sweep of their three-game road trip.

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