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Flyers expect Couturier, Raffl to be ready for opener

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Forwards Sean Couturier and Michael Raffl likely will be ready for the Philadelphia Flyers' season opener Oct. 8 at the Tampa Bay Lightning, general manager Ron Hextall said Tuesday.

Couturier, the Flyers' second-line center, won't play when they host the New Jersey Devils in a preseason game Wednesday. He is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

"We're hoping he plays Friday (in the preseason finale at the Devils)," Hextall told the Flyers website.

Raffl sustained an upper-body injury in a preseason game against the New York Rangers on Monday, Hextall said. Raffl will not play Wednesday but might play Friday in the preseason finale.

"It's a day-by-day thing," Hextall said. "We'll see how it goes. Whether he plays Friday, I don't know."

Chris Porter, who the Flyers signed to a two-way contract Aug. 8, took Raffl's place on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek at practice Tuesday.

"Don't overthink what you saw on the lines today in any way, shape or form," coach Dave Hakstol said. "I think it was a good look to see Chris there, and that's what our thinking was."

The Flyers hoped to cut their roster to 23 by the time they visit the Devils on Friday, but the Couturier and Raffl injuries have forced them to reconsider.

"I'm not sure at this point," Hextall said. "We'll kind of talk that through, see how we get through tomorrow. We're obviously getting towards that time, but there's two games left, so we'll see how Wednesday goes and we'll go from there."

Hextall denied a report that backup goalie Michal Neuvirth is injured. Neuvirth was not on the bench against the Rangers and missed practice Tuesday.

"He's fine. He's, as far as I know, good for tomorrow," Hextall said. "It was more of a maintenance thing. … Here's the deal. Lots of guys have bruises, or this or that, a little nagging injury. Just like you guys play a game of tennis and you come out and you're a little sore. It was a maintenance day for Michal."

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