Flyers center Sean Couturier is expected to miss the next two weeks with an upper-body injury, which rules him out for the remainder of Philadelphia’s first-round series against the Washington Capitals.
Couturier took a punishing check from Alex Ovechkin that sent him into the boards near the center-ice line at 11:13 of the second period. Couturier left the game moments later and did not return. Washington won the game 2-0 and now has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series. The Flyers squandered countless opportunities on the power-play that could have seen them steal game 1; it will be even harder for the Flyers to knock out the league’s best team now that Couturier is out.
Philadelphia is calling it an upper-body injury, though an earlier report described Couturier’s problem as an AC sprain in his left shoulder.
Moving forward, the Flyers will be without their best two-way player who has played a shutdown role in big playoff series since his rookie season. This would be problematic in any situation, but the effect could be magnified against the Washington Capitals, winners of the President’s Trophy in the regular season with 120 points.
Couturier’s absence creates a huge hole in the lineup for the Flyers, who went 6-9-4 in the regular season when Couturier was not in the lineup. It is an especially significant loss considering Couturier’s offensive game finally started to come together this season. Surprisingly, Couturier led the club with 20 even-strength assists. The 23-year-old also held Ovechkin pointless when matched up one-on-one this season.
It will be interesting to see what adjustments are made by the Flyers in Game 2.
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