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Giroux, Flyers Bounce Back

Sunday, 04.19.2009 / 10:12 PM ET / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Giroux, Flyers Bounce Back
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(Philadelphia, PA) - It was a quiet plane trip home from Pittsburgh late Friday night. It wasn't just that the Philadelphia Flyers lost, but they felt they gave a game away by committing three late-game penalties.

One of them -- the one that ended up being the costliest -- was committed by rookie center Claude Giroux during overtime. With the teams skating four-on-four, Giroux was covering the Penguins' Chris Kunitz heading back into the Flyers' zone. The usual hacking and whacking was going on, but Giroux whacked a bit too hard on Kunitz's stick and broke it in half. A referee saw it, and Giroux was sent off for slashing. Seconds later the Penguins had a two-man advantage, and that's when Bill Guerin scored the game-winning goal.

Giroux was deflated, but his seatmate on the trip did his best to pump his tires. Coach John Stevens decided to share some words of support with the youngster.

"I think he felt really bad because he cares," said Stevens. "I sat with him on the plane and just really talked about his learning experience. We tell any young player on our team, if the intention to do the right thing is there and the effort is there, mistakes are going to happen. In the case of the game in Pittsburgh, the intentions were there, he was playing hard -- come back and have a big game tomorrow."

Giroux was uplifted by his coach's words, and his play on the ice in Sunday's 6-3 win in Game 3 spoke volumes.

"It was good for him to come see me," Giroux said. "I was a little mad at myself for making that penalty, but he came to me and said don't worry about it, you have to bounce back. … He gave me more confidence. I was able to put that behind me faster. I was real disappointed about what I did (but) I was able to put that behind me and play my game."

His game, as fans all over the country got to see, is about high levels of skill and remarkable vision and passing ability.

He scored the go-ahead goal on the biggest shift of the game for the Flyers. The Penguins had tied the game, 2-2, 13 seconds into the second period and the Flyers looked like they were about to fall apart. Then Giroux and linemates Danny Briere and Darroll Powe jumped on the ice. Powe's shot off the rush bounced off goalie Marc-Andre Fleury right to Briere. Briere slid a nifty pass to Giroux, who calmly deposited it in the back of the net for his first NHL playoff goal.

Just over four minutes later, Giroux made the highlight play of the night. With the Flyers a man down, he took the puck from Sergei Gonchar behind the Pittsburgh net, deked away from Kris Letang and feathered a blind backhand pass to Simon Gagne on the far post for an easy goal.

Giroux didn't seem overly impressed by his magical play -- "I saw Simon go to the net. I was on the penalty kill so I wanted to play it safe, so I fired it to the far post and it ended up on his stick. So it was good," he said -- but others certainly were.

"He's been known to have elite vision," Stevens said. "I'm not sure there's many players that are capable of making a play like that. He didn't just throw that blind. He hung onto it … he threaded the needle and got it to the back post. It was really an unbelievable pass by a young player."

"His hockey sense is unbelievable," captain Mike Richards said. "To see him see different players around the ice and make different passes, he's been great for us all year and tonight was no different."

Giroux wasn't the only young player who made surprising contributions. Powe, an undrafted rookie from Princeton University was a plus-1 in 11:07 of ice time, and beside the assist on Giroux's goal, he had four hits and blocked two shots. And Jared Ross, from the hockey hinterlands of Huntsville, Ala., scored his first NHL goal early in the third.

"I thought Jared Ross came in, he's a little guy but he's very competitive, responsible, gave us some great minutes," Stevens said. "To see him score a goal like that on a great cycle shift was terrific. I think Darroll Powe has been a really good player the whole series. He just moves his feet, he gets on top of people; we move him all over the place, he played all three forward positions tonight and does a great job wherever we put them."

The Flyers' big stars like Gagne, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards all contributed in Game 3, but those players know they'll only go as far as players like Ross, Powe and especially Giroux help take them.

"If we're going to make any noise here we need those guys to keep going because we can't do it with just two lines," said Carter.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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