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.

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