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Flyers' Couturier injures knee, might need surgery

SUNRISE, Fla. - Second-line center Sean Couturier, the Flyers' best defensive forward, was injured early in the second period of Tuesday's game against Florida.

And it appears serious.

After the Flyers' 3-1 win, GM Ron Hextall had a glum expression as he said Couturier would be examined in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Sources said he injured his left knee, and Wednesday's examination could determine if surgery is needed.

Couturier collided with Florida's Vincent Trocheck and had to be helped off the ice with 18:20 left in the second period. Couturier appeared to be favoring his left leg, and he did not return to action.

"Anytime someone like Coots goes down, it sucks," said winger Wayne Simmonds after the game. "...Our centers stepped up and did a great job tonight."

Brayden Schenn (two assists), Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (five shots), and Nick Cousins (goal) filled in as the second-line center after Couturier's injury.

Couturier is the fifth Flyer to miss time because of an injured left knee this season. The others: Michal Neuvirth, Andrew MacDonald, Scottt Laughton, and Michael Del Zotto.

"Coots is a big part of our team, one of the best two-way players on our team and in the league _ especially as a young guy," Nick Cousins said.

The Flyers could elevate one of their lower-line centers (Cousins, Bellemare) to fill Couturier's spot if he is sidelined for a while. Other possibilities: Moving Schenn back to center, or recalling Jordan Weal or Laughton from the Phantoms.

Couturier was centering Simmonds and Travis Konecny.

"When guys go down with injuries, everybody has to step up, not just me," Cousins said. "I sort of slid in there on the second line with T.K. and Simmy. I thought we did a pretty good job. I'm not going to be a Sean Couturier. He's a big body and a great two-way player. Everybody's going to need to step up."

Breakaways. Several Flyers thought icing should have been called on Florida before it broke Mason's shutout with 1:51 left.....Radko Gudas had five hits and four blocked shots.