Flyers hoping new lines can get offense going vs. Penguins
Of the Philadelphia Flyers’ six goals in their three games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, three have come from defensemen and one has come from a rookie forward. Zero have come from three of their top-five goal scorers from the regular season -- Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
In an effort to inject some life into his offense, head coach Dave Hakstol mixed up his lines during Tuesday’s practice, one day before Game 4 (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) with the Flyers trailing their first-round series 2-1.
[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]
Boosting his top line, Hakstol reunited Giroux, Voracek and Sean Couturier for the first time since December, and Wayne Simmonds and Travis Konecny were moved to a line with Nolan Patrick centering. The hope is that some magic can be rekindled.
“At the time we went away from it that [Giroux] line had been outstanding. We weren’t playing well as a team at the time, so we wanted to try and build a little bit more depth into our forward group,” Hakstol said on Wednesday. “We feel a little bit differently about our group of forwards now, so we wanted to get a look at that group back together again and how the trickle down affects the other lines as well.”
One issue that could drastically alter that new look is the condition of Sean Couturier, who limped to the dressing room following a collision with Radko Gudas.
#BREAKING Our @6abc video of @NHLFlyers star Sean Couturier going DOWN at practice today after colliding with Radko Gudas. He limps off with the trainer. Claude Giroux told me "it didn't look good." So far no update from the #Flyers #NHLPlayoffs2018 #EarnTomorrow pic.twitter.com/SlfplFKjUd— Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) April 17, 2018
The Flyers had no update on the 25-year-old forward, and one likely won’t come until after Wednesday’s morning skate. Should a change be needed, Haksol could move Patrick to the top line or put Giroux at center, but the head coach said that thought hadn’t crossed his mind yet.
Losing Couturier would be a huge blow for a Flyers team looking to even the series. He played 27:15 in Game 2 and 26:18 in Game 3, with a lot of that on special teams (12:12 PP, 11:03 SH). He’s an invaluable player and one of their main sources of offense so far with a goal and three points.
The Penguins will be without Patric Hornqvist, who was ruled out of Game 4 with an upper-body injury. His absence, however, won’t hurt them as much as the Flyers being without Couturier.