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OTF: Couturier to play vs. Blues

Flyers get a boost with forward's return plus other lineup changes to start road trip

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

DEC. 28
2:40 p.m.

COUTURIER RETURNS
Following the team's morning skate it was revealed that forward Sean Couturier will be in actiontonight as the team takes on the Blues in St. Louis to begin their annual post-holiday road trip.

Couturier has missed the last 16 games due to a lower-body injury, after leaving the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Panthers at Florida on Nov. 22. The 16 straight games missed is the longest stretch of consecutive games missed due to injury in his six-year career.

"I'm feeling pretty good. It feels good to get back from the break and get a good skate in this morning," said Couturier, who noted that timing would be the biggest adjustment to returning. 

"Conditioning and staying in shape isn't too bad. You work out everyday and you're almost in better shape and fresher when you get back. Timing is going to be a big thing. I don't know if it's going to take a shift or two, maybe a period or maybe a few games. I don't know, it's about getting back into the rhythm and finding a way to be good."

Prior to being injured, he recorded five goals and eight points in 20 games while averaging 18:04 of ice time per-game.

"It's always good to get players back in the lineup," said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol. "Obviously [Couturier] plays a pretty big role for us, not only 5 on 5 but both special teams. Whether or not he has a huge role in special teams tonight remains to be seen but he's ready to go and it will be good to have him back in the lineup."

Couturier was taking line rushes at the morning skate with Dale Weise and Nick Cousins on the wings, which was his first practice since the holiday break after he had some travel issues returning to the team and missed the practice in Voorhees, NJ on Tuesday.

Defenseman Nick Schultz, who has missed the last 21 games, is also expected to be in the lineup tonight for the first time since Nov. 11 at Toronto. He was skating alongside Shayne Gostisbehere at the morning skate.

Puck drop on tonight's game at St. Louis is 8 p.m. ET and can be viewed on NBCSN or listen to live on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Video: Game preview with highlights and analysis

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