As the Flyers began a five-game road trip that essentially continued a make-or-break portion of their schedule, they did so without a few key cogs of the lineup in Michael Del Zotto and Sean Couturier.
It was noted that those two injuries provided a significant setback for the Flyers, and helped deal a blow to their already-slim playoff hopes. Then, of course, Jordan Weal found himself sidelined with an upper-body injury for three weeks. Sure, Weal hasn't exactly established himself as the most impactful on the Flyers' roster, but his injury still eliminates a lineup option for Dave Hakstol.
With the road trip continuing north of the border in Montreal and Toronto, the Orange and Black found themselves in further injury straits. Claude Giroux had taken an elbow to the head from the Canadiens' P.K. Subban in the waning minutes of Friday's game, and found himself as a scratch for Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs. Giroux's never exactly one to miss time with injury -- after all, he carried a streak of 99-consecutive games played into Saturday -- so you know he's not sitting out unless he absolutely has to.
In the Maple Leafs game -- which the Flyers would ultimately win 5-4 thanks to yet another dramatic overtime winner from Shayne Gostisbehere -- both Steve Mason and Evgeny Medvedev left in the third period. The Orange and Black had to toss an ice-cold Michal Neuvirth in goal (where he held steady) and finish with five defensemen.
A gaggle of injuries like this would certainly derail any team, and would be absolutely devastating for a bubble team like the Flyers. In what could be described as a big-time stroke of luck, however, the bulk of these injuries seem to be serious. Ron Hextall addressed reporters on Sunday, and offered an update on the injury phenomenon.
Medvedev and Mason are both fine -- Medvedev has no lingering effects from blocking a shot with his foot, and Mason's injury can simply be attributed to cramping. Giroux is also on the up-and-up, and could be good to go for Tuesday's game against Carolina.
Couturier resumed skating on Sunday, and is, along with Giroux, out for a day-to-day basis -- though it should be noted that Giroux will miss Tuesday's game against Carolina. Weal is also progressing significantly, and should be skating within a week and a half.
The bad news, however, comes from the Del Zotto front. The 25-year-old blueliner's second season as a Flyer will come to a premature end, as he will undergo wrist surgery that will have him sidelined for three-to-four months.
There's no denying that injuries are very much a part of the game, and there is never a convenient time for them to occur. They can spring up on anyone, even in this era where sports science continues to be far ahead of its time.
We've discussed before how fortunate the Flyers have been when it comes to man games lost due to injury. Following Saturday's game, they have lost 126 man games due to injury -- ranking in the bottom third in the NHL.
As the Flyers continue to push ardently for a playoff spot, they will need all hands on deck and will need to stay as healthy as possible. Twenty-four games remain in the season, and though they do have some games in hand over other teams, gathering as many points as possible is inevitably crucial.
The Orange and Black have been lucky as far as injuries have been concerned this season, and their luck with injuries increased significantly as not much resulted from the slew of injuries that presented themselves over the past week. It's luck that will need to continue, however, if they want to keep chasing that slim playoff chance.
Rob Riches is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61