PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol may have to enter what he considers the biggest game of their first round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins without one of his top scorers.
Hakstol announced after the team’s morning skate center Sean Couturier would be a game-time decision for Game 4 Wednesday night. Couturier left practice Tuesday after a knee-on-knee collision with defenseman Radko Gudas. Couturier had to be helped off the ice and did not return.
“I was down at the other end, so I didn’t really see him go down or anything like that, but you never want to see one of your teammates get hurt in practice or at any time,” said goaltender Brian Elliott. “He’s a tough guy, so we’ll see what happens.”
Couturier was the Flyers’ third-leading scorer during the regular season, scoring 31 goals with 45 assists in 82 games played. He scored seven of those goals on the power play and also led them with six game-winning goals.
“There’s a lot of guys in here that can pick up slack and guys that are itching to get more time, too,” Elliott said. “If he’s not available or if he’s available, I think our guys are ready for that.”
The Penguins will also be without one of their top forwards in Wednesday’s game. Head coach Mike Sullivan ruled right winger Patric Hornqvist out with an upper body injury. Hornqvist was tied with Sidney Crosby for the third-most goals on the team with 29 during the regular season. He also scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals in Nashville that clinched their second consecutive championship.
The Penguins hold a 2-1 series lead, and a win Wednesday will give them a chance to finish off the series during Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Puck drop at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.