Better With Popcorn

From the fourth line to the first line

This is the big chance Sean Couturier has been waiting for.

Granted the 19-year-old wasn't in favor of it coming at the cost of Claude Giroux's noodle, Couturier is looking forward to shedding Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk as line mates in favor of a future Hall of Famer and one of the best goal-scoring pests in the NHL.

Couturier will see a promotion to the first scoring line with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell tomorrow night in Washington.

In the second period of the Flyers 5-2 win over Tampa Bay, Giroux suffered a freak head injury. While down, forward Wayne Simmonds tried to avoid Giroux but caught him in the back of the head with his knee.

Feeling woozy, Giroux left the ice and bench and did not return. He was administered a concussion test but everything came back fine.

"Claude is continuing to feel better," Paul Holmgren said today to reporters. "He will not travel with the team today and will be seen by our doctor tomorrow."

With Giroux not traveling with the team for precautionary reasons, it's time for the rookie to step up and show the Flyers what they drafted with the eighth overall pick this season.

Couturier has five goals and three assists in 28 games this season. He's played a majority of his time on the hard-hitting 4th line with Rinaldo, Zolnierczyk and a few others.

But where Couturier has already made a name for himself is at the penalty kill. His plus-8 is a positive reflection on his defense and he has already scored a short-handed tally on the season.

He sees about an average of 14 minutes on the ice due to the kill and defense and that's a huge testament on how much head coach Peter Laviolette trusts the kid.

The Flyers travel to Washington tomorrow where Couturier could see a lot of time on the ice with one of the hottest lines in the NHL.

And playing against an offensive team like the Capitals, the Flyers are hopeful Couturier will use his 6'3", 200-pound body in his favor to keep a strong forecheck going in order to create the chances for Jagr and Hartnell.

Tomorrow night will be one of the first real showcasing of Couturier. After tomorrow, he may never see the fourth line again.