Giroux Leads Flyers Comback; Beat Habs, 3-1
After the first period it appeared as though the Philadelphia Flyers were in for another long night.
That of course was before Claude Giroux took control of the game.
Following less than stellar performances in their three most recent games, the team entered the second period of Friday afternoon’s game trailing the Montreal Canadiens, 1-0.
While the team trailed by a single tally, their play was sloppy, erratic and lacked any kind of cohesion. Much like their first meeting with Montreal, the Flyers allowed a goal in the later portion of the opening period and all signs pointed to another rout at the hands of the Canadiens.
No one could have predicted that the Flyers would score three unanswered goals in the second on the way to a 3-1 win.
At the mid-way mark of the second, Montreal drew a hooking penalty on Giroux.
It proved to be the spark the Flyers needed.
Philadelphia’s penalty kill unit looked terrific throughout the entire game. There were even times in the first that the unit actually looked more explosive than the team at even strength.
After killing off the Giroux penalty the team established an attack that forced an offensive zone faceoff.
Giroux attempted a shot off the draw that went wide of the net and wrapped around the boards. Matt Carle picked up the puck at the top of the faceoff circle and also threw it wide of the net.
The puck found Giroux’s stick again and promptly entered the net off of Price’s back.
The Flyers second goal also came on the heels of a penalty kill.
After being called for slashing, Marc-Andre Bourdon exited the penalty box and kept a Philadelphia attack alive by tapping a loose puck to Giroux. Following a fancy bit of skating and some skilled passing, Jakub Voracek put the Flyers up for good.
Prior to the end of the second, Giroux added his second of the game off of a rebound from a Braydon Coburn shot.
Following the game, all eyes were on Giroux.
“This is a talented guy that I am talking about. You can just see it, its visible,” Peter Laviolette said of Giroux. “Sometimes somebody can be a great player and you're not really sure how they do it. For me, you can visibly see what he does on the ice, how much he wants it and how hard he works for it."
The play of Giroux has gotten to the point where it’s impossible to overlook him. While his statistics clearly stand on their own, one cannot merely judge his dominance by the score sheet.
He has clearly started to establish himself as one of the league's elite.
It’s something that’s become obvious in the locker room.
“If I had to pick a few guys from the whole league, he's [in] my top three and he has been our best player by far,” Kimmo Timonen said. “He's one of the better players in the league."
Even though every one else praises his ability, Giroux deflects the attention away from himself in order to focus on the team.
“I think that guys stepped up tonight,” he said. “Without Bob, I think we wouldn’t have even been close tonight. Obviously, we have some work to do.”
Giroux certainly has a valid point. The team looked weak in the first and struggled throughout the game with poor passing. Of course penalties have been a consistent problem.
But even then, it’s hard to ignore talking about Giroux.
“This year I think he has really spread his wings,” Laviolette said. “and now he is one of the top forwards in the game."
Many thanks to Dan Gold for the photographs. Follow him on Twitter (@danielcgold)