Flyers' Couturier could play must-win Game 5

by Steven Clarke April 27, 2018, 1:10
Flyers' Couturier could play must-win Game 5

The Penguins will now play the victor of the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Jake Guentzel scored four goals and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 8-5 to reach the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

There is one season that is ultimately successful - and we didn't obviously accomplish that this year - but there were a lot of positives that we can go back and evaluate.

The Philadelphia Flyers haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1975. They were 0-for-13 in their three home games, including 0-for-3 in Game 6. Guentzel was on his way to scoring an awesome four consecutive goals to blow the Flyers away.

Couturier, who sprung out of the gates to score 31 goals before slowing down late in the regular season, had been injured Tuesday in a collsion on the practice ice with Radko Gudas.

I know hockey players are tough, but Couturier played Games 5 and 6 on an injury that usually takes at least four weeks to heal, and he was the best player on the team while doing so. A lot of them will be surrounded by the growth of our team, and that's not just the young guys.

Couturier sealed the hat trick with a goal in the third period.

"We came into this playoff series and into (Game 6) very confident that we could not only take this series to a seven-game series, but also win the series", Hakstol said. Gostisbehere should have been protecting the slot.

The Flyers were 2-for-21 (9.5 percent) on the power play.

The topsy-turvy first period did end on a big positive, however.

Philly's defense was nonexistent and the Flyers had no bodies on Crosby and especially Hagelin on the gimme goals against Michal Neuvirth. The shot glanced off of Neuvirth's left pad, hit the post and squirted free.

This one from the second period was much, much prettier. That victory pushed the teams back to Philadelphia for Game Six on Sunday. While fighting off Hornqvist's stickwork, Couturier pulled off a sweet move that opened up Matt Murray's five-hole, then deposited the puck for the go-ahead goal.

But that's when the onslaught began.

The hero act elevated with his standout showing Sunday of three goals and a pair of assists for his first career five-point playoff performance.

And, suddenly, the deflated Flyers were making summer plans in their heads.

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