The Philadelphia Flyers were always going to face an uphill battle to upend the Eastern Conference favorite Washington Capitals in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. Now it appears they will have to do it without one of their most important young players, in Sean Couturier.
During the second period of game one on Thursday night, Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin leveled a devastating hit on Couturier along the boards. It was a hit that left the Flyers player dazed and wobbly on his skates. It also kept Couturier in the locker room as the two teams skated out for the third period.
Well, the news only got worse postgame, as Couturier reportedly has an AC/Sprain on his left shoulder, and will miss the remainder of the series:
Couturier has an A/C sprain to left shoulder. Done for series
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) April 15, 2016
Here is the hit in question:
Couturier got up favoring his left arm as well as being a big wobbly on his legs. Ovechkin was not penalized for the hit.
It wasn’t the only big hit of the night either, as the two teams would get in to a scrap following a boarding call on the Capitals’ Tom Wilson with about seven minutes to go in a 1-0 game the Caps were leading.
Wilson was then engaged in a one-on-one fight with Wayne Simmonds, with each receiving matching minors (Wilson for the original boarding call and Simmonds for roughing) and matching majors.
Simmonds would take his team’s potential game-changing power play and turn it in to 4-on-4 hockey. Just how huge was that moment? None other than Ovechkin acknowledged it after the game:
Ovechkin on the fight: "It was a great job by Willy, to take one of the key players out. It's huge. It shows character, it shows smartness."
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 15, 2016
As it was, the Capitals took the 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven first round matchup on a 1-0 scoreline in this game. Given the other things that went on, it may also be psychological advantage to the Capitals as well.