Flyers’ Couturier ruled out vs. Malkin, Penguins

Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier won't be flustering Pittsburgh Penguins star forward Evgeni Malkin on Thursday.
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The Philadelphia Flyers have dominated the Keystone State-rival Pittsburgh Penguins of late in large part due to forward Sean Couturier’s ability to keep adversary Evgeni Malkin in check.

The Flyers (20-16-8) will vie for their ninth straight victory over the Penguins without the services of Couturier (lower body), who was ruled out of Thursday’s contest against the Penguins (21-17-7) by coach Dave Hakstol. Couturier missed Wednesday’s practice due to a maintenance day and Hakstol made the decision to sit him hours before the start of the game.

Via NHL.com:

“It changes the structure of our team to some degree. But I think the most important thing is that we just have to go and make sure we get back onto our path of the mentality that we've played with.”

Philadelphia’s top defensive forward, Couturier has limited former Hart Trophy-winning Malkin to just one goal and one assist in the last seven encounters between the Metropolitan Division rivals.

The 23-year-old Couturier has collected nine goals and 13 assists in 38 games this season for the Flyers, who saw their six-game point streak (5-0-1) come to a halt with a 3-2 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. His 22 points are fourth-best on the team.

Couturier set up a tally versus the Maple Leafs for his 14th point (six goals, eight assists) in as many games.

With Couturier sidelined, center Jordan Weal could be in line to make his debut with the Flyers after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 6. Weal last appeared in a contest on Dec. 28 and has been held off the scoresheet in all 10 games that he’s played this season.