The Philadelphia Flyers will be without center Sean Couturier for the foreseeable future thanks to a lower-body injury.
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Couturier Expected to Miss Four Weeks
Friday, Feb. 5
Couturier exited Philadelphia’s victory over the Nashville Predators Thursday with the injury. The team confirmed on Twitter the center will be “out approximately four weeks,” per general manager Ron Hextall.
The Flyers drafted Couturier with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft, and he was turning in one of the better seasons of his career before this injury. He has nine goals and 15 assists, and his plus/minus rating of plus-nine is his highest mark since his rookie campaign when he posted a plus-18, per ESPN.com.
The Flyers relied on his durability in recent seasons, as well. In fact, he played in all 82 games in each of the last two campaigns as a regular contributor on the offensive side of the ice.
Travis Hughes of SB Nation put the loss into perspective:
There's no reason to sugar coat this: it's a really bad injury for the Flyers. They are a thin team up front already, and Couturier has been played Selke-level hockey this season. Losing a second line center who plays tough minutes -- who was also just beginning to breakout offensively for the first time in his career -- is a terrible blow to a team that relies so much on its top two lines.
As of Friday, Philadelphia was only four points behind the New Jersey Devils for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, as Hughes mentioned, this is a difficult setback, and the Flyers will need to tread water until Couturier returns and hope they can make a late charge in the season’s closing stretch.
Claude Giroux (who leads the team in points) and Brayden Schenn will have to shoulder more of the load until that happens.