Five Flyers Observations: Sean Couturier records his first career Gordie Howe Hat Trick


It started with a goal. Just before the half-way point of the 1st period, Couturier tipped home a Voracek shot on the power-play for his 19th of the season.

Then came the assist. With 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd, Couturier flipped a perfect lob pass over a Islanders defenseman to find Konecny on the break-away for the goal.

Then came the fight. After a huge hit on Andres Lee, Couturier accepted a fight with Josh Bailey to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.

“Yeah I think so it was a big game tonight, they’re just ahead of us in the standings,” Couturier said, “we knew it was important and there’s a lot of emotions out there, guys responded that’s what happens during the game.”

This was the 1st Gordie Howe hat trick in Sean Couturier’s career. The reason behind it? In Couturier’s 7 year NHL career, he only has 6 fights, with last night’s included.

Couturier is not known to drop the gloves, but when he does, it is for a reason. Everyone of Sean Couturier’s fights have come after a big hit or standing up for his teammates. A trait that has been in Couturier since day 1 as a Flyer.

Here are 4 more observations from the Flyers 6-4 victory over the Islanders…


A Call For Energy You Say?
Before the game, GM Ron Hextall made it know that the reasoning behind bringing up Tyrell Goulbourne was the Flyers needed an energy boost.

“What we are looking for from him is a little bit of energy.” Hextall said. “He has outstanding speed, a heavy player, a heavy stick, he’s a good penalty killer and he’s been a good player for us up there. But, the energy, the speed, the forecheck, physical play.”

Well, due to the snowstorm, Goulbourne, the man who was brought up for that energy boost, did not make it to Philly in time for tonight’s game. However,the rest of the Flyers answered that call pretty well.

The Flyers had 23 hits tonight and wait for it. 3 FIGHTS. Yes, that is right, 3 fights. Hextall’s call for energy was present tonight after a call-up that woke up the Flyers veterans. Flyers Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, & Scott Laughton each dropped the gloves tonight.

“Well I think good words of determination and urgency.” Hakstol said. “Whatever you want to use from the drop of the puck.”


Ivan Provorov
The Russian multi-tool played probably his best game as a Flyer tonight. After playing one of his worse games as a Flyer Tuesday against the Penguins, Provorov didn’t show any carry over bad play in this one.

“Yeah, definitely the game against Pittsburgh wasn’t my best. Those games happen, you just have to be able to learn from them and bounce back.” Provorov said. “I was able to bounce back for myself and I think as a team we played much better and the way we need to play.”

Provorov didn’t play his usual 25 + minutes tonight. But he did account for 3 of the Flyers 6 goals. Provorov had 2 goals and 1 assist tonight for the Flyers. His assist was a shot from the point that Raffl deflected home for the goal.

“Yeah, like I said, today was a great team win. I think everyone contributed different ways.” Provorov said. “It was blocking shots to getting the hit on the fore check, scoring goals, getting assists and making saves. So I think today was a really good team effort.”


Must Win Game For Playoff Hopes
After falling to the Penguins Tuesday night, the Flyers were in a must win situation tonight to keep any hope alive of the playoffs. The Flyers didn’t lose any ground on Tuesday with the loss. But, they missed out on an opportunity to jump right into the thick of the playoff hunt with a win.

Fast-forward to last night. Well, the Flyers won, but again didn’t gain any ground because the Hurricanes went into Pittsburgh and won. As of this win, the Flyers and Hurricanes have played the same amount of games. But, the Hurricanes have 2 more wins than the Flyers, 4 point difference.

“If we want to be a playoff team we need everyone, especially from now on, games are going to get a lot tighter, a lot tougher and we need everyone to step up in any way we can.” Couturier said. 

With the Hurricanes surging, a loss tonight would have put the Flyers 6 points back and facing a mountain too tough to climb.  However, the Flyers answered the bell and stayed 4 points back with the win.


Where Has The Penalty Kill Gone?
After only giving up 5 goals in the month of December, the Flyers penalty kill is yet to kill off a penalty in the new year.  The Flyers penalty kill is 0 for 3 to start the new year.

“Tonight, take the second one out tonight and the situation there, I won’t get into that. The first one we burned our F1 up ice and that creates a speed play coming at us. We have to continue to work at it and get better.” Hakstol said after Tuesday 5-1 loss to the Penguins.

This game wasn’t any better for the Flyers. Only taking one penalty, the Flyers couldn’t kill it off and gave up another goal. At a glance, you ay think it is tiredness. However, it looks like the Flyers are falling into their bad habits again.


Result : Flyers 6 – Islanders 4, WIN

Record : 17 – 15 – 8

Next Game : 1/6 St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia PA, 1:00 pm


Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports