The Flyers knew they weren’t going far without their team MVP player, Sean Couturier, playing at his best.
And through the first 10 games of these playoffs, he certainly wasn’t his regular talented self.
But finally, in Game 11, the skies cleared and the normally outstanding first-line center returned to form in Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime win over the New York Islanders.
Couturier scored his first goal of the postseason to make it 3-0 Flyers in the first period, then set up Phil Myers’ game winner in overtime to salvage a 4-3 victory.
“There’s no doubt in my mind and there shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind Sean’s will to play well and do well is unquestionable,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said after the game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
“He’s trying to put his best game on the ice. Sometimes it’s a little bit more challenging than others. Today, he made some good plays with the puck.
“Just prior to the winning goal he had a great opportunity. Without a doubt, his effort, combined with his playmaking ability was a big part of us getting the win.’’
>Myers comes through again
Myers just seems to have a knack for coming through with the big play at the right time.
And so it was on Wednesday when his long shot from the point got past Thomas Greiss in overtime for the winner.
“I thought I had a lane,’’ he explained. “I was just trying to get it on net and it went in. I’ll take it.’’
Myers took advantage of a certain situation.
“When they collapse down low, I was kind of calling for the pass from ‘Coots’. Got a good bounce and really happy it went in.’’
Myers led the Flyers defensemen in plus-minus during the regular season with a plus-17. He’s also been leading them during the playoffs.
Vigneault made some significant changes to his lineup. He scratched Scott Laughton and Shayne Gostisbehere and decided to suit up James van Riemsdyk and Robert Hagg. Hagg seemed particularly effective in rebuffing some of New York’s attempts at physical play. Hagg was a plus-2, as was Justin Braun, Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes.