In his first five years in the NHL Sean Couturier has been a pretty outstanding defensive forward that hasn’t quite taken a big step forward in the scoring department. It’s not that he is a bad offensive player, but he has pretty much settled in as a 35-40 point scorer.
Perhaps he just needed to find the right linemate to help him take that next step.
On Friday night the Flyers opened their season in Los Angeles with Couturier playing on a line next to 19-year-old forward Travis Konecny, the No. 24 overall pick in the 2015 draft, and the duo ended up playing a significant role in their 4-2 win over the Kings.
Couturier and Konecny teamed up for a pair of goals during the Flyers’ four-goal second period that ended up giving them all of the cushion they would need on the night.
This goal, which gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead, was probably the prettiest of the two.
The Flyers also received goals from Boyd Gordon and Mark Streit during the period as they overwhelmed Kings backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who was getting the start because regular starter Jonathan Quick is sidelined (perhaps for a while) with a groin injury.
Overall this was a pretty strong showing for the Flyers. After a slow start in the first period they pretty much carried the play the rest of the way, outshooting the Kings by a 23-14 margin during the second and third periods.
This Flyers team is a fascinating one entering the season because of players like Konecny.
They were a playoff team a year ago and still have one of the best players in hockey (Claude Giroux) and another top-line player in Jakub Voracek that should be ready for a bounce back season. But along with those veterans they also have a wave of young talent that is starting to reach the NHL and make an impact. You already saw it a year ago with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
This year it is going to be Konecny and defenseman Ivan Provorov, who also added an assist during the win on Friday, that are going to get their opportunity.
On Friday, they managed to get off to a pretty great start.