Flyers’ Sean Couturier nets hat trick despite torn MCL

Flyers' Sean Couturier nets hat trick despite torn MCL

April 23 (UPI) — Sean Couturier scored three goals and had two assists — despite playing with a torn MCL — in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers center went off before the Flyers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Couturier suffered the injury when he collided with teammate Radko Gudas during practice on Tuesday. He missed Game 4.

Couturier, 25, scored the game winner in the Flyers’ 4-2 victory in Game 5.

He divulged the nature of his injury when talking to reporters after the loss. Couturier played in all 82 regular season games for the Flyers, scoring 31 goals. He had five goals and four assists in five playoff games.

“It’s tough because we lost, obviously,” Couturier told reporters. “I just tried to lay it all out there and give it all I had. It’s too bad we didn’t come away with the result we wanted.”

The seven-year veteran began his Sunday scoring spree by beating Penguins net minder Matt Murray 2:15 seconds into Game 6. He buried that score after the Pittsburgh defense turned the puck over in front of the net.

Sidney Crosby tied the game for the Penguins 4:15 seconds later. Carl Hagelin gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead 7:17 into the frame.

Couturier and Ivan Provorov assisted Andrew MacDonald near the end of the first period, tying the score at 2-2.

Then Couturier scored his prettiest goal of the game. The Flyers center took off on a breakaway after Patric Hornqvist turned over the puck between the blue lines. Couturier out-skated Hornqvist toward the Penguins’ goal. He shielded the defender away while pulling the puck to his right side. He then pulled the puck with his stick, crossing the face of the goal, before flipping in a shot past Murray for a 3-2 lead 40 seconds into the second period.

Scott Laughton gave the Flyers a two-goal lead 12:14 into the period, before the Penguins mounted a comeback.

Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel lit the lamp in the second period, tying the game. Guentzel added three more scores in the third period, before Couturier netted his third with about three minutes remaining in the game. Bryan Rust scored the Penguins’ eighth goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Penguins face the Washington Capitals or the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Washington holds a 3-2 lead over Columbus in that series. The Capitals and Blue Jackets face off in Game 6 at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.