Sam Gagner

Sean Couturier's play will be key for the Flyers in playoffs vs. Capitals

Sean Couturier's play will be key for the Flyers in playoffs vs. Capitals

VOORHEES, N.J. — As far back as the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers became aware of the standout defensive player they had in Sean Couturier.

That was the year the 18-year-old rookie shut down Pittsburgh superstar Evgeny Malkin and even scored a hat trick of his own.

Since then, it's been a steady rise to the point where he's now being mentioned with some of the NHL's top two-way players, such as Boston's Patrice Bergeron, Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles' Anzi Kopitar.

Couturier, now 23, gets ready for another big challenge — taking on the high-powered Alex Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, which begin on...

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