Flyers' rookies up to the challenge

By Rob Maaddi

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier, left, takes Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin off the puck near the Flyers' net during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Tom Mihalek, Associated Press

VOORHEES, N.J. — Some of the biggest contributors for the Philadelphia Flyers in their first-round win over Pittsburgh were players too young to really grow those scraggly playoff beards.

Sean Couturier was only 16 when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2009. Just last spring, he watched the NHL playoffs on television. Now, the rookie center is right in the middle of it all, and he's standing up to the big boys.

"I just go out there and prepare myself for every game like it's any game," Couturier said Tuesday. "Obviously, when you play against guys you watched on TV like Crosby and Malkin, you can't get intimidated when you are out there. You just have to play your game and show what you got."

So far, so good. The Flyers became the first Eastern Conference team to advance to Round 2 on Sunday, when Philadelphia hammered Pittsburgh, 5-1, in Game 6.

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