Archive | 10:08 PM

Giroux Steals The Show In Return To Lineup

21 Dec

Jaromir Jagr couldn’t have been happier. When he learned that Claude Giroux was returning to the lineup, it was inevitable that he and his line would get back on track. Indeed, Santa Claude came back and had gifts for everyone. OK, well three people.

Giroux had a goal and three assists in a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars, shedding any doubt that the center wasn’t going to push himself after missing four games with a concussion.

The Flyers found themselves in a 1-0 hole only 56 seconds into the game, when Michael Ryder used a screen to beat Sergei Bobrovsky up high. But then, Giroux took over.

First he helped himself, scoring on a rebound of a Jagr shot against Richard Bachman to tie the score. It also gave him sole possession of first place in the NHL scoring race. Even after missing four games, he was tied for the league lead.

Then he gave himself some breathing room.

He assisted Wayne Simmonds on a power play goal when Vernon Fiddler was in the box for spraying Bobrovsky with a snow shower. The goal keeps Simmonds hot. He’s now had five goals in his last seven games.

Dallas tried to stop Giroux, but had trouble. Giroux got hit by Trevor Daley and fell to the ice, but he got back up and was OK. Then Steve Ott hit him too. Giroux got some help in an interesting form. Instead of Tom Sestito or Zac Rinaldo stepping up to Ott, Peter Laviolette gave the Star a shove on his way to the locker room.

According to a report from TSN, the league will review the situation, but it likely won’t garner even a fine.

In the second period, the Giroux show was back on. Jagr got involved on a dazzling play with Giroux. The center played give-and-go, seemingly paying no mind to the Dallas defense who had no shot at stopping the crisp passes. Jagr deposited the puck behind Bachman for his 11th goal of the year.

The goal moves Jagr into sole possession of 11th on the NHL all-time goal scoring list, passing Brendan Shanahan. He is 11 away from tying Luc Robitaille (668).

In the third period, Giroux led Andrej Meszaros for a breakaway in which he tallied to make the score 4-1.

The victory broke a two-game losing streak for the Flyers. Not only did the team get two points, but its offensive leader got four. It was his most prolific game of the season, a feat he’s accomplished twice already this year, on Dec. 7 and Oct. 29. The performance put to rest any apprehension that Giroux might not be himself. It is clear that the NHL scoring leader is alive and well.

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Optimism Surrounds Giroux As Flyers Deal With Dallas

21 Dec

In a game against the Stars, the Flyers could be getting one of their own back. Claude Giroux practiced for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, sparking hope that he can play Wednesday night against Dallas.

Giroux reportedly skated with his normal line, centering Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr, in Tuesday’s practice. General manager Paul Holmgren said on Tuesday that Giroux was cleared “for all activity” on Saturday, even though he wore a non-contact jersey on Sunday. He is officially listed as day-to-day, but the hope is that he can suit up against the suddenly streaking Dallas Stars.

Dallas has won four of its last five and went 3-2 on a road trip before returning home for a come-from-behind win over Anaheim on Monday. The team has also picked up at least a point in nine of 13 since dropping five straight in mid-November.

Like the Flyers, the Stars are also banged up. Adam Burish had a broken hand, but could return against the Flyers. Tomas Vincour might miss the rest of the month with a knee injury and blueliner Philip Larsen has a quad injury.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen is on the injured list with a groin injury, leaving 24-year-old Richard Bachman to tend the pipes. He has started the Stars’ last five games and won four of them.

Bachman is an NHL veteran of all of seven games so he’s new to the Flyers—Stars history. Looking back, the Flyers have won five in a row against the Stars and haven’t lost in Dallas since Mar. 13, 2007. But this year’s version is a Stars team that has surprised many people in the NHL. Mostly projected to be at the bottom of the Western Conference, the Stars and rookie head coach Glen Gulutzan sit atop the Pacific Division.

Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring with eight goals and 20 assists. They have only three players in double digits in goals. They have gotten to the top of the division because of their defense.

That defense will be tested by the Flyers, who still have the league’s most potent offense. Even though he’s missed the last four games, Giroux is still tied for tops the league in individual scoring. But that could change on Wednesday night. With Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs idle until Thursday night, Giroux has the floor to himself.