PHILADELPHIA - Flyers coach John Stevens said picking the shooters for the shootout is pretty much a guessing game. That's how he opted to use Claude Giroux as his third shooter in the game-deciding breakaway competition against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
The first four shooters -- Danny Briere and Mike Richards for Philadelphia and Blake Wheeler and Patrice Bergeron for Boston -- couldn't score. Giroux then showcased the hands that made him a first-round NHL draft pick and rewrote the Quebec League's playoff scoring record book by beating Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for the lone shootout goal to give the Flyers a 4-3 victory.
Chris Pronger, Darroll Powe and Arron Asham scored in regulation for the Flyers (4-2-1), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen had a pair of assists for his first multi-pointNHL game, and Ray Emery made 23 saves. After Giroux's goal, Michael Ryder rang a shot off the post on the final shootout attempt, giving the Flyers a victory after a six-day layoff.
Derek Morris, Matt Hunwick and Steve Begin scored for the Bruins (4-4-1), who earned three of four points in their back-to-back games. They won 3-2 at home against Nashville on Wednesday, but have gone through nine games in a lose-one, win-one pattern.
"Maybe the last four minutes they really put a lot of pressure on us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They were getting pucks behind us, behind the net, where we did a pretty good job all night of taking that part of the game away from them. They got a little bit of momentum, but we hung in there and hopefully we can look at this as a big point.
Giroux had been 0-for-3 in the shootout in his NHL career, but the Flyers as a team haven't been much better -- they were just 12-25 since the inception of the shootout in 2005.
"We had a little shootout in practice the other day and he made a similar move," Stevens said of Giroux. "We've been talking about him for a while. We've used him a few times; he's made good moves and not scored. We decided to give him a shot tonight. Glad I did."
That Stevens used a player with just 51 games of NHL experience ahead of All-Stars Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne also spoke volumes about his trust in Giroux.
"I think the kid flourishes in that spotlight there," Stevens said.
"That's what big players do, they come up big in big situations," added Powe. "He's a young guy but nothing seems to bother him. He's confident, he works hard. He's been big for us."
The Flyers' fourth line also came up big, as Powe, Daniel Carcillo and Mika Pyorala combined for 2 points and a plus-3 rating. Also, the third defense pair of Tollefsen and Danny Syvret played well, combining for a plus-2.
"All those guys did a great job," Stevens said. "I really liked our fourth line. Every time they got on the ice they swung momentum our way. Every time they were on the ice they spent the entre shift in the offensive zone and clearly out-worked whoever was on the ice against them. You love that in those guys. When we got late in the game we moved some of those guys up because they had so much energy. They were tremendous -- that whole line (Powe, Daniel Carcillo and Mika Pyorala) was tremendous. And Ash comes in and scored a big goal for us. I think it's important that Tolley and Danny get more involved like they did tonight and give us significant minutes. Especially Tolley, I thought he had his best game since he's been here."