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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

(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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 52 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 52 8 34 -3 42
W. Simmonds 52 19 16 -7 35
B. Schenn 50 14 15 -2 29
S. Gostisbehere 34 9 19 3 28
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 50 4 9 -10 13
M. Raffl 52 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 14 7 .915 2.70
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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