Better With Popcorn

Couturier Regaining Lost Confidence Post-Trade Deadline

All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.

Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.

On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop. 

The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.

Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.

"I’m glad to be here and happy to be here," Couturier said Wednesday. "I try to control what I can control. Trades you can’t really control what’s going to happen... I’m young and obviously if there’s big names coming my name is always going to be thrown around. I try not to think about it and just play the game and do what I do."

The trade value may have very well boosted the confidence of Couturier, who had struggled heavily most of the season. In the last two games since the deadline has passed, Couturier has been a different player.

Some say he has even resembled his 2011 self which shut down Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs and proved to be a dangerous two-way forward at 19.

In Thursday's 5-3 win over Toronto, Couturier had a pair of assists, the latter setting up the game-winning goal in the third period.

His first assist came in the first period. With his team trailing 2-1 late in the period, Couturier streaked up the ice with the puck and found Jakub Voracek with a pass that went through the legs of Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.

Couturier's second assist came six minutes into the third period.

After forcing a turnover, he fired a shot on net with Jay Rosehill and Adam Hall screening goalie James Reimer. The puck grazed Rosehill's pants and found its way past Reimder to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead and eventual win.

Only hours after the trade deadline had ended the Flyers played against the Montreal Canadiens at home. In that game, Couturier snapped an ugly 27-game goal drought to help lift his team over the second place Habs in a 5-3 victory.

Simon Gagne sent a pass across to Ruslan Fedotenko, who set up Couturier in front of the net. Couturier turned and fired the puck past Carey Price to tie the game up, 1-1, early in the second period of Wednesday's game.

"It’s good for the confidence to get the monkey off the back," Couturier said after Wednesday's game. "It’s been awhile and it’s nice to find the back of the net."

Couturier's play began to pick up the few games prior to Wednesday. He started to shoot the puck more, forecheck a lot better and create chances for himself and his linemates.

"I think the last couple of games I’ve been getting some good scoring chances and when you get scoring chances it’s just a matter of time before you find the back of the net and one lucky bounce is all I need," Couturier said on Wednesday. "Hopefully I can get some more here."

And the lucky bounces continued to fall his way with the game he had on Thursday.


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