Flyers' Couturier has hat trick despite torn MCL

Flyers beat Penguins, force Game 6

He gave the Penguins a 5-4 lead when he scored 30 seconds into the third period off a pass from Phil Kessel on a 2-on-1.

What made it all so wild?

Couturier, who scored the winning goal in Game 5 despite playing with one healthy leg, gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead by scoring on a unusual breakaway, one in which he slowed down at the last second and, as Patric Hornqvist went past him, made a great move to slide the puck past Matt Murray with 19:20 left in the second period.

Guentzel scored four straight goals in a span of 13:52 of game action to turn a Pittsburgh 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead in the third period. In any context it would have been a bad, selfish penalty, but given that the Penguins were only leading by one mid-way through the third period of a potential knockout game it was ... bad.

The Flyers, who survived a 10-game losing streak just to make the playoffs, lost all three games at home and not even a solid start could help them get out of the first round for the first time since 2012.

After leading the league in postseason goal scoring a season ago he is now tied for the league lead as of Sunday with his teammate, Sidney Crosby.

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Couturier, 25, logged 31 goals and 45 assists in 82 games during the regular season and will look to build on the breakout season in 2018-19. Malkin suffered the injury in the second period of Game 5 when Philadelphia forward Jori Lehtera awkwardly fell on his left leg. That's a big loss for the Penguins in a crucial game, as Malkin is a key offensive piece down the middle and on special teams.

A stat-padding goal came as Couturier secured a playoff hat trick (to go along with two assists for a give-point night) with just a few minutes to go in the Flyers' inconsistent season.

Feeding off a frenetic crowd, Couturier charged the net, dug out the puck from a handful of Penguins and scored just 2:15 into the game.

Then Couturier took advantage of a Hornqvist pass that went off Matt Read's skate, beating Hornqvist to the net and fending him off to beat Murray for a 3-2 lead 40 seconds into the second period.

They also had more issues in net. Bryan Rust scored an empty-net goal to make it 8-5 at 19:29.

The Penguins swept the three playoff games at the Wells Fargo Center. The Penguins will face the eventual victor of the series between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets. Showing the poise of a two-time defending champion, they scored two goals 47 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead.

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