Flyers Have Uphill Battle After Loss of Couterier

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Posted April 16, 2016

Sean Couterier, arguably the Philadelphia Flyers’ best two-way forward, will miss the next two weeks with an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit along the boards from Alex Ovechkin in the second period of Game One.

Couterier, AKA Coots, has been essential to the Flyers success this season. The club went 35-18-10 with him in the lineup, and a mere 6-9-4 when he was absent.

The 6’3”, 211 lbs. second-line center is a key member of the Flyers special teams. He’s a contributor on the power play and a vital penalty killer. Not to mention, this is a series that so far has been filled with penalties.

The 23-year-old is frequently assigned to defend opponents’ key offensive players. Most notably, Couterier shut down and got under the skin of the 2012 MVP, Evgeni Malkin, in the Flyers 4-2 series victory over the Penguins in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Flyers second line of Raffl-Couterier-Schenn was expected to spend a lot of time matching up against the Capitals’ top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie. Now the guys from Philly need a new strategy to slow down the Caps’ star trio.

Expect Scott Laughton, 21, who has been a healthy scratch for nine of the past 11 games and never played a postseason game, to be thrust into the lineup to replace Couterier.