Captain Fantastic: Giroux's Four Points Lead Flyers to Comeback Win Over Columbus
PHILADELPHIA -- Claude Giroux didn't even know how the puck went into the net.
He'll be watching replays of it for sure. Not only because it was the game-winning goal, but because it was the 100th goal he's scored in his career.
It came just under three minutes after his 99th career goal tied the game up. His two tallies earned the Flyers a 5-4 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.
“To be honest I haven’t seen the replay or anything so I don’t know what happened," Giroux said. "I was just trying to get it on net, and it was at the end of the shift so I was a little tired, so I was just trying to get it on net.”
Hartnell was standing in front of the net and Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney waiting for the rebound. After Mark Streit fired a shot wide from the point, Giroux got the puck near the goaline, and with his back completely facing the net, he fired a back-hander that somehow beat McElhinney.
“I was right in front and I thought he was just going to shoot it back door for a rebound but I saw it in slow motion go into the top corner," Hartnell said. "I was like ‘oh my gosh.’ That should be top on Sports Center tonight.”
Giroux's game-tying goal wasn't as fancy but it showed the work the Flyers' top line has been putting in lately.
Jakub Voracek, who had a goal and two assists - both on Giroux's goals - sent a puck towards the net that Michael Raffl redirected. The puck hit the post but hung in the crease behind McElhinney, allowing Giroux enough time to push the puck into the open net to tie the game with three minutes, 46 seconds remaining.
The goals capped a five-goal third period that saw the Flyers out-score Columbus, 5-1, and outshoot the Jackets, 16-7. It replicated a first period effort that saw the Flyers hold a 14-4 shot advantage despite trailing 1-0.
Columbus jumped out to the early lead while on the penalty kill. Voracek turned over the puck at the blue line to Cam Atkinson, who skated in on a 2-on-1 to beat Steve Mason.
Voracek made the same mistake again in the second, this time succumbing an odd-man rush that involved Jack Skille. Skille blasted a slap shot past Mason to give Columbus a 2-0 lead.
At the end of the period, Nick Foligno made it 3-0 in the final 10 seconds of the period.
“Yeah because I can’t stand getting outworked, can’t stand it,” coach Craig Berube said, referencing the frustration felt during the game.
The Flyers got their spark from Voracek to start the third. After missing a few chances, Voracek got the puck behind the net, skated out front, turned and shot it past McElhinney to make it a 3-1 game.
Just over a minute later, Braydon Coburn blasted a shot past McElhinney to pull the Flyers within one of the Jackets.
Columbus seemed to have stopped the Flyers momentum midway through the third. Blake Comeau received a pass from Artem Anisimov in front of the net and slide one through Mason to give Columbus a 4-2 cushion.
With under five minutes to play the Flyers top line sparked some offense again.
The Flyers had an extra attacker on a delayed penalty to Columbus when Giroux fired a shot on net. McElhinney kicked out the rebound, and Erik Gustafsson shot it into the open net to make it a 4-3 game.
Giroux tied the game up less than a minute later, and then repeated his magic in the final minutes of the game.
The Flyers had struggled in the third period in the early part of the season. Voracek can't remember when the third period luck changed.
"It’s hard to say, but obviously I would say in the last month we did better in the third periods," Voracek said. "Either we held onto a lead or took the lead in the third period. It was a huge win for us, a huge comeback and a great game.”