Sean Couturier day to day with reported shoulder sprain

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

Not the best news to hear with only six games remaining. The Flyers will be without their captain for at least the next two games as he is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The injury has been reported as a shoulder sprain but does not appear to be anything significant at this time. Kevin Kurz of The Athletic was the first to report the exact nature of the injury.

Couturier suffered the injury during the first period against the New York Islanders. He took a hit from Ryan Pulock and crashed awkwardly into the boards. Before the game, Couturier had been bumped up to the top line with Travis Konecny and Tyson Foerster, playing just 3:21 in total before leaving the game. He did not return.

It is not an ideal time for the Flyers to have anyone out of the lineup due to injury. They have faltered lately, dropping five straight games. They have picked up a valuable two points in those losses, however. But they are barely clinging on to a playoff spot. With 83 points, they have just a one-point lead on the Washington Capitals. The Capitals could knock them out of a playoff spot entirely with at least a point against the Penguins tonight.

Detroit is also on the outside looking in. They are one point back of Philadelphia for the final wild-card spot and could overtake them if they beat the Rangers on Friday and the Flyers do not get a point against the Sabres. It is crunch time and Philadelphia needs all hands on deck.

Couturier will miss the game against the Sabres on Friday and Columbus on Saturday. They are two winnable games, but Philadelphia has shown recently that playing the bottom teams doesn't guarantee a win. It has been a tough season for Couturier both injury-wise and with his overall game. After returning from two back surgeries, he was one of the Flyers' best players to start the season. It had some wondering if he had returned to his Selke form. Flash forward to January and the offense all but disappeared.

When speaking on Couturier a few weeks ago, GM Danny Briere speculated that his heavy minutes could have been catching up to him. He also mentioned the veteran forward playing through about five different injuries earlier in the season. Whether or not that is true is something we likely won't find out.

"Early on, we were asking a lot of him. He was playing on the powerplay. He was facing all the top lines. He was first on the penalty kill. Sean was really beat up, too," Briere said. "If you remember, you go back to earlier in the season, Sean was missing some practices here and there. It wasn't just to recuperate from playing 22 minutes [a game], he was really banged up. I think at one point, he had five different injuries that he was dealing with, and he was still playing."

In his absence, the Flyers moved Morgan Frost back to the top line with Foerster and Konecny. Frost scored with less than 10 seconds remaining to give the Flyers an important point against the Islanders. His turnover, though, led to the game-winning goal for the Isles. Based on his comments after Wednesday's practice, he plans to make up for it. Bobby Brink, who had been a healthy scratch, was with Owen Tippett and Scott Laughton. Brink's play has dropped recently so this will be a good opportunity for him to get back on track ahead of a possible playoff berth.

Couturier has come back from all types of injuries during his career. Hopefully this is just a minor injury as speculated and he can return to help the Flyers clinch a spot in the playoffs.