Flyers checking line showing chemistry

The Flyers checking line of center Sean Couturier along with Steve Downie and Matt Read has been more than carrying its weight lately.

Couturier might be the Flyers best penalty killing forward and he scored a shorthanded goal in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Even though it was only his second goal of the year, Couturier has contributed in so many ways. And he senses cohesion with Read, who returned after missing one game due to injury, and Downie.

“We have some good chemistry and on right now, me, Downs and Reader,” Couturier said. “It feels good to have him (Read) back in the lineup.”

Scott Hartnell, who scored Friday’s first goal, just 48 seconds into the game, had high praise for the trio.

“That might honestly (have) been our best line in the last six or eight games and we’ve got to follow through with that," Hartnell said.

After Downie’s first game with the Flyers when he was injured during a fight against Washington on Nov. 1, and missed the next four games.

He has now played nine games since and has six assists in that span. Downie is showing that he is much more than just a tough guy out there.

Coach Craig Berube was asked if he thought Couturier, who has seven assists in addition to the two goals, was giving enough offense before being paired with Downie.

“I think he was good offensively no matter what, but Downie there adds another element for sure,” Berube said. “He’s a good play maker down low, he’s strong with the puck and the battle.”

Berube says that Downie keeps a lot of pucks alive down low, which obviously benefits the entire line.

“I think the line has really good chemistry and they complement each other well,” Berube said.

The Flyers players have noticed that Couturier, who turns 21 on Dec. 7, is playing with much more confidence lately.

“I think he’s stepped up his game tremendously,” goalie Steve Mason said. “He is definitely one of our best players right now.”

-Marc Narducci