The Philadelphia Flyers lost Game 3 by a score of 4-3 in OT to the New Jersey Devils, but they’re likely worried about losing a guy Jaromir Jagr compared to Ron Francis, too. Rookie forward Sean Couturier hobbled off the ice fairly early on Thursday, but RDS reports that he “should be OK” and a doctor will take a look at the situation on Friday.
There’s been some talk of a cut on his leg, although the only official word is the always-vague “lower-body injury.”
The young forward has shown some of Francis’ well-documented defensive acumen, but the comparison isn’t too accurate from an offensive standpoint anymore. (At least, at this point in his development.) All four of his points came in that April 13 game; his other eight postseason contests have been all-defense or nothing including seven consecutive pointless games.
Considering the impressive forward depth in Philly, it’s unlikely that the team can really blame this loss in the event that Couturier misses significant time and they drop the series to New Jersey. Their biggest problems are in net, on defense and apparently on the power play.
That doesn’t mean they won’t miss him, though.
St. Louis Blues captain David Backes says that the team needs to “look in the mirror” and “show some cajones” to get back in their series against the Los Angeles Kings. Still, it would be nice to get their hidden gem of a defenseman Alex Pietrangelo back for Game 3, but Ken Hitchcock’s update is mostly pessimistic.
Hitchcock provided this not-so-positive (yet vague enough to instill some hope) guess to Jeremy Rutherford.
“If he’s able to practice tomorrow that’s a big step, but I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Hitchcock said. “He’s injured. If the game was today, he’s not ready to play. We’ll just see how it works out.”
Again, that’s doesn’t seem too promising … although Game 3 won’t happen until Thursday, so there’s still time. (It’ll start at 10 pm ET on NBC Sports Network, by the way.)
The Blues might just want to assume that they’ll be working without their best defenseman (and some might say best player) and then consider him a huge, maybe Drew Doughty-level bonus if he plays after all.
If the Phoenix Coyotes go into a sixth overtime of the series against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, they’ll have the one guy not named Mikkel Boedker who has won one in OT back. Martin Hanzal collected Phoenix’s first sudden death clincher in Game 1, but he’s been unable to play since Game 2 – until now, according to Dave Vest.
That overtime winner might be many casual fans’ first memory of Hanzal, but in the grand scheme of things, he’ll be used to try to keep pucks out of Phoenix’s net instead. He’s a large center who is one of the better defensive forwards on a Coyotes team that can check you into scoring irrelevance.
Considering how close this series has been, he might just be the difference – even if his impact isn’t as noticeable as last time.
(Also, in other lineup news, Adrian Aucoin reportedly won’t be in the lineup. That would be totally worse news if shootouts existed in the playoffs, though.)