Flyers' most important player a surprising late scratch because of injury


Just when it looked like the Flyers' lineup was finally going to see some game-to-game consistency in personnel, the club lost its most important player right before puck drop Saturday night.

In the morning, head coach Alain Vigneault said he was going to use the same lineup from Thursday's 4-3 win over the Islanders.

That changed when Sean Couturier became a late scratch because of a lower-body injury. Michael Raffl entered the lineup in Couturier's place as the Flyers took on the Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The severity of Couturier's injury is unknown. The Flyers will hope it's nothing serious.

Do they expect him to play Monday?

"Not quite sure at this time," Vigneault said after his team's 6-1 loss. "He has a lower-body injury. He tried this morning, thought he'd be all right tonight, went out for warmup and him and [Flyers director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin] discussed it and felt that it was better for him not to play. I'm not sure of his overall status; I'll have more in the next day."

The Flyers don't practice Sunday. They have a back-to-back set at home over Monday (vs. Islanders at 7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Tuesday (vs. Devils at 7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Losing Couturier for any period of time would be a major blow. The Flyers are already trying to right the ship through a rocky March that has inflated their goals allowed per game average. The Flyers entered Saturday night surrendering the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.46.

Couturier, the 2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner, had been excellent in his return from a costochondral separation that forced him out for 10 games earlier in the season. Since returning in early February, the do-it-all center has put up 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 16 games.

Update: Flyers get good news on Couturier's injury

Raffl has been dealing with a swollen right hand, which was why he was originally slated to sit.

With Couturier's absence, Scott Laughton moved to center and played on the top line. Raffl played left winger on the second line with Kevin Hayes and Jakub Voracek.

Nothing got better for the Flyers, either, as they lost Couturier and promptly fell behind, 4-1, at first intermission.

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