Flyers

Flyers' result shouldn't impact how Couturier's heroic effort is remembered

Flyers' result shouldn't impact how Couturier's heroic effort is remembered

Sean Couturier was still standing, somehow, when he let it slip.

Torn MCL, right knee, no surgery needed but normally a four-week healing period (see story).

“It wasn’t the ideal situation,” Couturier said. “I didn’t really feel a whole lot. I was just giving everything I got and not really thinking about it. But there were times I could feel it pretty bad.”

Most of the time, this story comes with a happy ending, after a month-long triumph. It’s the type grandparents tell their grandchildren, and it’s what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs so great.

That’s not what this is. There is no grand finale here. The Flyers’ season is over. It ended Sunday night bitterly with a sour-tasting 8-5 loss to the Penguins in Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center.

It’s a story, though, to remember, an all-time great individual effort on one leg that wasn’t enough. The Flyers’ result should not impact how we tell Couturier’s story going forward.

“He’s a warrior,” Wayne Simmonds said. “The things he’s done this year and the way he handled himself after missing a game there, he came back and was the best player on the ice.”

Couturier delivered his second career postseason hat trick and became just the fifth Flyer in franchise history to register a five-point playoff game with three goals and two assists.

With the Flyers’ back up against the wall, Couturier, nursing a “lower-body” injury far more severe than initially believed, put his teammates on his back and carried the weight.

The 25-year-old finished with 20 minutes and 5 seconds of ice time, not nearly where he was in the first three games of the series but four more minutes than Game 5, his first game back.

“He gave us a chance to win that game,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “I know I said it before; I have a lot of respect for that guy. He’s one of our leaders. Our season is on the line, and he played a great game.”

On Friday, Couturier’s heroics forced the series back to Philly when he scored the game-winner in the final minutes of regulation. To the naked eye, it was hard to notice anything different.

There were limitations, but he had an impact. Then on Sunday, he raised his level of compete and almost single-handedly beat the two-time defending champs in a do-or-die situation.

“With Coots, there’s a real mental toughness there in terms of being able to focus on the job at hand,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “He had to change the way he went about his job a little bit.”

The torn MCL limited Couturier’s mobility and he said he let his wingers do the work when they had the puck. But it was Couturier who scored his first by crashing the net, and it was Couturier who showcased a power move to score on a breakaway.

After his five-point game Sunday, Couturier now has 13 career playoff points against Pittsburgh in 11 games with two hat tricks.

Last spring, Couturier asked for a larger role offensively and the Flyers rewarded him with one. He paid them back with a 31-goal, 76-point season.

“I think I showed I can produce in this league offensively,” he said. “I don’t think I really changed the type of game I play. I still take pride in defense. It’s just about getting more opportunities.”

And on Sunday, Couturier demonstrated one more thing.

He can produce in this league, on one leg, with his team on life alert.

Flyers release statement amid Philadelphia protests following George Floyd's death

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AP Images

Flyers release statement amid Philadelphia protests following George Floyd's death

In late March, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher opened a conference call with an acknowledgement and a message of gratitude for those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I just wanted to mention that before we started talking about the small piece of the world that I work in which is ice hockey," Fletcher said then.

Hockey didn't feel in the realm of importance to the world's current events at the time. Right now, it doesn't come close to the magnitude of the country's current events.

Fletcher and the Flyers respectfully postponed the general manager's scheduled media availability for Monday in light of what has transpired following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd was killed in police custody after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the 46-year-old black man's neck.

Starting on Saturday, joining others across the United States, protests focused on racial injustice began in Philadelphia and continued through Monday.

The Flyers released the following statement Tuesday morning via their Twitter account:

We don't have the answers, but this much we know ...

We believe in racial equality without exception, and our hearts are broken.

For Philadelphia and the nation, we join the chorus calling for justice, the elimination of systemic racism, unity and peace.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Head of strength and conditioning Chris Osmond gives insight on team's adjustments

Flyers Talk podcast: Head of strength and conditioning Chris Osmond gives insight on team's adjustments

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by special guest Chris Osmond, the Flyers' head of strength and conditioning.

From Osmond's insight on the Flyers' fitness to our analysis on prospects/awards, let's dive in:

1:00 — Which defenseman will climb the fastest to the Flyers — Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie, Linus Hogberg or Wyatt Kalynuk?

7:05 — Osmond discusses the Flyers' daily questionnaire with players

9:40 — Ivan Provorov has a unique style of working out

11:45 — The big adjustments Osmond has had to make with players in quarantine

15:45 — What will be the toughest challenge for the Flyers leading up to a possible resumption?

• 17:25 — The importance of a good diet for Carter Hart and the team

• 19:00 — "None of us have been through this" 

20:10 — Osmond loves the Flyers' victory song

24:50 — Is Sean Couturier the Selke Trophy winner?

29:20 — Who is Alain Vigneault's biggest competition for the Jack Adams Award?

40:00 — Which former Flyer would we pick to be our favorite teammate?

• 45:15 — A taste of the "Marathon on Ice"

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers