Flyers

Jakub Voracek has 'that f--- you attitude' back thanks to quiet force Sean Couturier

Jakub Voracek has 'that f--- you attitude' back thanks to quiet force Sean Couturier

Sean Couturier was asked why it has worked so well in head coach Alain Vigneault’s strategy to use the 26-year-old center as a sparkplug for struggling teammates.

“I don’t know,” Couturier said with a modest laugh to start his answer.

Couturier is reserved and unassuming. His toothless smile seeks more attention than he does, when the do-it-all player has all the right to say look at me.

But that just isn’t him.

So allow Jakub Voracek to tell you what Couturier can do for a player.

“I feel like I have a swagger back,” Voracek said after the Flyers’ 2-1 win Monday night over the Canucks. “If I don’t play with a swagger, I think that’s what was missing. I’ve got the swagger back and kind of that f--- you attitude that I need to have to be successful.”

Not so quiet.

Last Thursday, Vigneault placed Voracek on Couturier’s line with Oskar Lindblom. Over the previous 11 games, Voracek had no goals, four assists and a minus-3 rating. In three games with Couturier, Voracek has two goals, an assist and a plus-3 mark.

Against the Canucks, Voracek notched an assist and scored the game-winner in the third period, while Couturier also registered a multi-point game. He has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) and a plus-8 rating in the Flyers’ last 14 games.

“He’s helping everyone,” Voracek said. “He’s always in the right position, same with Oskar. They are both really easy to read off of. For me to keep a little bit of speed kind of helped me, so I don’t have to stop and start all the time, which is really hard to do for an 82-game season.”

While Couturier is not the ostentatious type, his style of play possesses that f--- you attitude with the opposition. He’s a nightmare to draw in the faceoff circle, he’ll grind you defensively and wear you down offensively.

Canucks star Elias Pettersson was held without a point and shot by the Flyers for just the second time this season. The 21-year-old center came into the Wells Fargo Center with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) over 24 games.

“Coots is one of the best defensive forwards putting up huge offensive numbers," Voracek said. “He knows what to do to make the other top lines miserable.”

And make his teammates happy.

“I’ve got to say that everybody that I’ve played with Coots has played well,” Vigneault said. “I don’t know if that’s Coots or guys getting excited playing with him. Coots is a real solid 200-foot player. You can trust him as a coach in defensive situations. Offensively, again tonight, that line was real effective.”

Couturier doesn’t need to tell anyone. Voracek served as a proper reminder.

 

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Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Suffice it to say Scott Laughton got the best of the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was the first star in the Flyers' 4-3 victory, scored the game-winning goal during the third period, added an assist, stood up for his teammates and got under the skin of Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

So much so that Tkachuk went after Laughton, crosschecking the 25-year-old forward in the back and jumping him during the final minute of regulation. The NHL reacted quickly to the play, fining Tkachuk $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Following his third-period marker, Laughton had words for the Senators' bench. He was fired up, especially after Ottawa's hits on Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee, which led to some fights. Laughton could not partake in the dropping of the gloves because he recently returned following surgery on a broken finger, which is still healing.


I knew it was coming. It’s part of the game when you do that stuff and chirp the bench, you know it’s going to come. I just can’t drop my gloves right now with my finger and everything. I’ve got some padding there so once I do that, I guess it’s a penalty or something. That’s just the way it went.

- Laughton

But Laughton still had the backs of his teammates. He was physical throughout, especially after the first-period hits on Konecny and Farabee. He also allowed his game to do the talking.

Laughton has four goals in his last six contests and the Flyers are 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of the finger injury.

Would Laughton have liked to fight?

"Yeah," he said.

He did plenty enough.

Tkachuk's crosscheck and check to the league are proof of Laughton's work.

 

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Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Updated: 4:22 p.m.

BOX SCORE 

The win was ugly.

But a really good one for the Flyers.

A lesser opponent tried to work them up, throw them off, and the Flyers still found a way to pull out a 4-3 decision over the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

They did so while losing their best player during the first period and despite being outshot 30-21.

Scott Laughton was superb yet again with a multi-point game. He was physical when the game became physical and he scored the game-winning goal, his fourth marker in the last six games.

The Flyers (17-8-5) showed they can win when they’re far from their best, which is a good sign. They are 12-3-4 with 28 points since Nov. 1. The Capitals entered the day with an NHL-leading 28 points over that span.

The Senators (12-17-1) have lost six of their last seven games.

• The biggest storyline to come from Saturday’s game was Travis Konecny leaving the ice and never returning following a crushing hit by Mark Borowiecki in the first period.

The fights then broke out with Jakub Voracek and Joel Farabee doing the honors (see story).

The 22-year-old Konecny already had a goal in the game and has been arguably the Flyers’ most important piece to their turnaround through two months of this season.

Konecny was presumably getting checked for a concussion. If he were to miss any time, it would be a significant loss for the Flyers, who are 2-4-4 when Konecny goes scoreless in a game.

After the game, head coach Alain Vigneault said Konecny had an upper-body injury and the Flyers would have further updates Monday.

• Ivan Provorov kept on humming Saturday, matching his goal total of seven from last season by sending home a third-period missile to put the Flyers ahead 3-2 (see highlights).

The Flyers are 15-5-4 since Oct. 21. Over that stretch, Provorov has six goals, nine assists and a plus-10 mark.

• The Senators’ game-tying goal in the second period was an inexcusable one to give up by the Flyers. Carter Hart and Shayne Gostisbehere misread each other terribly, which allowed Anthony Duclair to swoop in for a shorthanded marker.

Both Hart and Gostisbehere need to be more aware in that situation.

The good news is Gostisbehere continues to push offensively and Hart has been awfully good since Nov. 1 — really, all season for that matter.

Gostisbehere has three goals in five games following a three-game benching. The 26-year-old defenseman had one goal in his previous 22 games.

Hart finished with 27 saves.

• Morgan Frost picked up his first point in eight games on Konecny’s goal.

Before the game, Vigneault expressed his confidence in the 20-year-old center who is centering the Flyers’ top line.

The 2017 first-round pick deserves some patience just like a lot of young players.

• Next week, the Flyers open a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

 

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