Giroux Shines As Flyers Handle Habs

25 Nov

WELLS FARGO CENTER — The deck is getting smaller for Peter Laviolette, but he continues to play the right cards. With James van Riemsdyk added to the list of walking wounded, Claude Giroux stepped up and took charge as the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1.

Laviolette also had a very interesting decision to make as Ilya Bryzgalov had struggled recently and Sergei Bobrovsky got the win in relief on Wednesday. The coach went with the hot hand and started Bobrovsky, who made 23 saves, again on Friday.

“In the first period he made a couple of big saves,” said Laviolette. I think his best save probably came in the third period. It was 3-to-1, on the cross-ice play off the rush that they had. He came across with a low pad and was able to make a save. He was sharp, handled the puck well and gave us an opportunity to win.

“Especially in the first period, the chances weren’t heavy in their favor. We didn’t have any to speak of. They had a few, but he was sharp in making those and gave us an opportunity to get our feet underneath us.”

The Flyers struggled their way through the first period, losing the shots battle 8-5. Bobrovsky stood tall until the final two minutes when a costly turnover from Andrej Meszaros turned into a Petteri Nokelainen goal. Laviolette was seen screaming at his team as the first period came to an end.

“I think there is an expectation for everybody, for us to go out and play hard and compete,” said the coach. “I was really happy to see us come back in the second period. The players played extremely hard in the second and third and we got a big win. That’s really what it is about at this point in the year.”

Whatever he said, it appeared to work. The Flyers, and Giroux in particular, owned the second period. They outshot the Canadiens 18-5 and scored three goals, two of them coming right after killing penalties.

Carey Price was standing on his head until the Flyers got a lucky bounce to score. Matt Carle’s point shot deflected off the back boards to an open Giroux who knocked the puck off the backside of Price and in. Jakub Voracek scored an equally opportunistic goal when Kimmo Timonen’s centering pass found his stick and the puck found a wide open net.

“We had a lot of scoring chances in the second period,” said Voracek, “and after that first one it seemed like everything else went in after. But Carey Price played very well.”

Giroux added a second goal when a rebound kicked out to the left wing and right to him for his second goal of the game. The Flyers firmly planted the nail in the coffin with a strong third period, shutting down the Canadiens to end their home play. They’ll face the Rangers on Saturday in New York before a busy December on the road. They won’t return to Wells Fargo Center until Dec. 8.

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