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Flyers’ Home Opener: Will Couturier Play vs. High-Scoring Canucks?

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Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers. returned to action. (Photo from Flyers Twitter feed)
Photo: AP.

As the Philadelphia Flyers prepare for Tuesday’s opener against the Vancouver Canucks, there are questions about whether top-line center Sean Couturier will play.

Couturier, who missed all of last season after undergoing two back surgeries, missed practice Monday at the Wells Fargo Center because he was  “banged up,” according to coach John Tortorella, who said his injury wasn’t related to his back.

Tortorella would not give any more information.

Scott Laughton, who has been playing left wing, centered the top line at practice and had Travis Konecny and Cam Atkinson as his wingers.

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The other lines: Morgan Frost centering Joel Farabee and Bobby Brink; Noah Cates centering Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster; and Ryan Poehling centering Nic Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway.

Vancouver (2-0) leads the NHL as it  averages six goals a game; the Canucks defeated Edmonton twice, 8-1, and 4-3. Brock Boeser already has four goals for the Canucks, and teammate Elias Pettersson has six points (1-5).

The Flyers are 1-1 after beating Columbus, 4-2, and losing to Ottawa, 5-2. In the latter game, the Senators went 3 for 5 on the power play.

Vancouver’s power play is ranked No. 2 in the NHL, clicking at 44%.

Good Opening Numbers

The Flyers are 31-17-7 in home openers in franchise history, including 3-0-1 in their last four.

They are 3-0-1 in home openers against the Canucks.

Fans at WFC Practice

The Philadelphia Flyers opened the Wells Fargo Center to fans, and a decent amount attended Monday.

“I was actually really surprised by how many people showed up,” Farabee said. “I thought it was really cool.”

Laughton feels club executives Danny Briere and Keith Jones have brought a new vibe to the Orange and Black.

“I think Jonesy connects with the fans really well and kind of has a clear message for them,” Laughton said after practice. “Having that, I think the fans have kind of bought in to what’s going on here. Obviously, they want to win, but I think they know what’s happening, so it was exciting to see a bunch of them here on a Monday morning supporting us.”

Breakaways

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who missed the first two games with an unspecified injury, did not practice; he skated before practice. … Konecny leads the Flyers with three goals. … Carter Hart is 3-1-2 wiitha 2.30 GAA and .919 save percentage in his career vs. Vancouver. … Tuesday’s game was moved from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. because the Phillies and Diamondbacks are playing that night in the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park, and Mexico is facing Germany in an international soccer matchup at the Linc.

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