Say this about Claude Giroux — he knows how to pump tires.
The Flyers leading scorer and alternate captain once again backed beleaguered netminder Ilya Bryzgalov on Friday, saying he expected big things in a crucial Game 5 tilt against the Penguins.
“He’s going to be great tonight,” Giroux told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I have a feeling. He’s focused.”
Finding focus hasn’t been easy for Bryzgalov lately. He was bombarded with questions following Wednesday’s 10-3 shellacking in which he allowed five goals on 18 shots, then raised eyebrows yesterday when he left practice after 10 minutes.
Shortly thereafter, more distraction — Philadelphia’s NBC 10 TV analyst Howard Eskin tweeted Bryzgalov had a hip injury, a claim the Flyers quickly refuted.
Perhaps this is why Giroux felt the need to show confidence in Bryz…again. Following the Game 4 loss, Philly’s leading scorer jumped to his goalie’s defense, saying there was no wavering confidence in his ability to stop pucks.
“I’m not worried about Bryz,” Giroux said. “He knows what he’s got to do. He’s a lead goaltender, and we’ve got to do a better job in front of him. He’ll be our best player in Game 5.”