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That ended the evening for Couturier, who appeared to be seriously injured and went right to the dressing room.
The Flyers said that Couturier suffered an upper- body injury, and he was in noticeable pain while going off the ice.
The Flyers said that Couturier would be reevaluated Friday.
Comcast Sports Net reported that he is done for the series. With Couturier, the Flyers' best penalty-killing forward, sidelined, Washington opened the scoring later in the period on a power-play goal by John Carlson.
That goal got the Capitals rolling during their 2-0 win over the Flyers on Thursday in the opening game of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series at the Verizon Center.
Couturier was unavailable for comment after the game.
His teammates didn't want to use his absence as an excuse but also realized how important he is to the Flyers' success.
"He has been such an integral part of shutting down the opposition and providing an offensive spark itself," Flyers goalie Steve Mason said.
No penalty was called on what appeared to be a clean but awfully hard hit.
"If we need to fill that spot, we will take a look at a couple of different things, including Brayden." Couturier's worth was clearly shown during his absence this season.
The Flyers were 6-9-4 in games he missed and 35-18-10 when he played.
"He changes our group a little bit, but injuries are part of it, and we have dealt with it all year long and will do the exact [same] thing now," Hakstol said.
"He is not an easy guy to replace and guys stepped up when we needed to, and I am not sure what will happen, and we will take it day by day." The Flyers moved Brayden Schenn, who had been on Couturier's line as a right winger, to center in Couturier's place.
"We put Brayden Schenn into that spot, and he has been in that spot other times when need be, and I thought he went in and did a good job tonight," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.