Couturier responds from benchings with strong outing

Sean Couturier

PHILADELPHIA – After playing 785 games without a single scratch since 2011, Sean Couturier had to sit not once, but twice over the past week.

Some players might sulk, some might scream at the coach and some might question why the heck a “C” for captain was sewn on their sweater this season.

But not Couturier. Professional all the way. And that idea was confirmed during Saturday’s Flyers-Boston Bruins game.

Couturier returned to the lineup and centered a line that might have been the best on the ice for Philadelphia. He even made wings Noah Cates and Olle Lycksell look pretty good out there.

It was important for Couturier to keep his head up during his time off and not give off any bad vibes.

“Just happy to be back and contribute any way I can,” Couturier said after the Flyers had dispatched the Bruins by a 3-2 number. “It was a big two points.”

Couturier was asked if he “played angry” (because of the benching).

“Not really,” he said. “I just tried to come back to the basics. Play a little more simple hockey. Just kind of let the game come to me. And I thought our line did a pretty good job creating some forechecks, some momentum, a couple of offensive zone opportunities.”

Earlier in the week, Couturier disclosed he wasn’t quite sure what coach John Tortorella needed to see in terms of improving his game.

“It’s behind me now,” Couturier said. “I don’t really want to talk about it. I just want to help the team in any way I can. You know, it all worked out well. As a team, I thought we all responded really well.”

Overall, this was one of the Flyers’ most significant wins of the season. They knocked off the NHL’s top point team at the moment and they continue to show they can hang with the big boys.

“It’s huge, I think it’s good for our confidence,” he said. “If you look at these past four or five games, we’ve been in it against some really good teams. I think we can start believing in ourselves and we’re one of those (contending) teams.”

Did Couturier have more jump in this game?

“I definitely felt fresh,” he said with a chuckle. “I had a week to kind of recover, refocus, recharge the battery.”

Travis Konecny said it was good to see Couturier back in the lineup.

“It was great, he did a great job tonight,” Konecny said. “I thought he was around the puck and created a lot, too. Their line, I thought, actually carried a lot of momentum for us. When we dipped I thought they came out and did a great job for us getting it back.”

The way Couturier handled the benching was not lost on his teammates.

“He handled it great,” Konecny said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that when he was out of the lineup, he wanted nothing more than for us to get those two points every night. He’s our leader and you just know that he wants the same thing, nothing more than to make the playoffs. He was staying ready and it showed today. . .he came in and did a great job.”

Tortorella gave the impression he expected Couturier to handle the scratches like the true professional he is.

As it turned out, he did exactly that.

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About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.