WASHINGTON -- The Philadelphia Flyers might have to figure out how to defeat the Washington Capitals without their best defensive center after losing Sean Couturier to an apparent left shoulder injury in a 2-0 loss in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Verizon Center on Thursday.
Couturier was injured on a neutral-zone hit from Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin that drove his left arm into the boards 11:13 into the second period. Couturier held his arm to his side without moving it much as he skated off and exited to the locker room. He did not return.
The Flyers released a statement from general manager Ron Hextall saying that Couturier, 23, sustained an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated on Friday. CSNPhilly.com reported Couturier will miss the remainder of the series with a sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol didn't provide much information on Couturier after the game.
"All I know is we had to go without him for the rest of the game tonight," Hakstol said. "I won't go any further than that."
Video: Flyers react to loss of injured F Sean Couturier
Asked if there was any fear Couturier will be out long term, Hakstol replied, "I can't tell you that. He wasn't available for the rest of the game. That's what I was told."
Hakstol acknowledged that Couturier's absence "changes our group a little bit, but injuries are part of it and we've dealt with it all year long and we'll do the same thing now. If he's not available, our team will deal with it. That's how it is at playoff time."
For the final period and a half on Thursday, Hakstol shifted Brayden Schenn from right wing to center the second line in Couturier's place.
"I thought he went in and did a good job tonight," Hakstol said of Schenn. "We'll look at a lot of different things, but if we need to fill that spot -- if -- we'll look at a couple of different options, including Brayden."
Couturier had 11 goals and 28 assists for 39 points in 63 games during the regular season. He is known for his solid play defensively, often matched against the opponent's top scoring line, and for his strength as a penalty killer.
"Obviously [Couturier] is a huge piece of our team," Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds said. "He's goes down and someone else has got to step up and I thought we did a good job for the short term."
Couturier was missed when a point shot from Capitals defenseman John Carlson deflected in off Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde for a power-play goal with 3:39 left in the second period that gave Washington a 1-0 lead. The Flyers killed three Capitals power plays after that, including a four-minute high-sticking double minor to Sam Gagner 5:28 into the third period.
"He's been such an integral part of shutting down oppositions and providing some offense," Flyers goalie Steve Mason said of Couturier. "He's not an easy guy to replace, but guys stepped up when we needed to. Moving forward I'm not sure what's going to happen. We'll just have to take that day by day."