James O'Brien

Slumping Giroux knows ‘I need to play better’

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It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, but Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks was especially vexing.

It wasn’t just that the Flyers lost or that his personal pointless streak extended to a fifth game, his worst slump since 2013-14.

Giroux was also dominated in the faceoff circle, losing 14 of 16 draws, including 12 of 13 against Ryan Kesler (who apparently slashed Giroux during the contest).

Philly’s captain didn’t use that slash as an excuse for an unusually tough night, easily his worst in the faceoff dot this season. Instead, he put the blame squarely on himself, according to CSNPhilly.com.

He didn’t throw new linemates Brayden Schenn or Michael Raffl under the bus, either.

“Raffl and Schenn are playing great,” Giroux said. “I need to play better. I need to find a way to help them more.”

Give Giroux credit for saying the right things, but looking at his stats with Schenn vs. his numbers with Jakub Voracek, one wonders if he should really stick with Voracek and Raffl. In other words, perhaps he should complain, even if he does so privately.

Granted, it’s tough to complain too loudly when your team is the second-lowest scoring squad in the NHL, as is the case with the Flyers.

Hellebuyck, Myers head Jets’ efforts in shutout vs. Penguins

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Some might be surprised that little-known Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck earned his first career shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 1-0 win on Sunday.

For Hellebuyck, it sounds like it was a long-time coming, or at least it felt that way.

The rookie apparently believed he had been on the verge of that elusive first NHL goose egg for some time.

Hellebuyck also provided a nice highlight-reel save to go with his first career shutout, as you can see in the video above this post. Of course, Tyler Myers deserves plenty of credit, too.

Bryan Little provided the only goal of the game, which came via a penalty shot.

PHT Morning Skate: Gillette gets geared up for Winter Classic

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Mike Milbury and Kathryn Tappen joined the Football Night in America broadcast to take a peak at Gillette Stadium, cite of the upcoming 2016 Winter Classic. (See video above)

The top choice of Puck Daddy’s 10 biggest “Jersey Fouls” of 2015 is a no-brainer in more ways than one. (Puck Daddy)

Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky took in a NWHL game this weekend. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Ron Wilson aims to prove that he can still get it done as a coach at the World Juniors. (The Hockey News)

The Carolina Hurricanes did the meme legwork for you here, really.

Even a mostly strong night for the Ducks carries some bad news

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Relatively speaking, this was a night brimming with good news for the Anaheim Ducks.

As per usual for their so-far disastrous season, there’s still a hiccup in an otherwise promising evening.

Let’s consider the good first:

  • Ryan Getzlaf responded to his latest round of self-criticism with a goal, and this one even came with a goalie in the net. His previous lone goal was an empty-netter. You can watch that triumphant moment in the video above.
  • Corey Perry enjoyed a strong night of his own, scoring two goals, including the game-winner. He’s been more productive (and healthier) than Getzlaf this season, yet just about every Ducks player has faced a bump in the road.
  • That previous point spoiled this, but the Ducks got the win by way of a 4-2 score against the Philadelphia Flyers. (Apparently they’re used to succeeding against Philly.)
  • Anaheim carried the shots battle and might just have their “guy” in net, at least as much as this goalie-fickle franchise ever does …

That said, it’s not all good news. Anaheim faces an upcoming three-game road trip, and they’re at risk of doing so without Cam Fowler, who was injured during Sunday’s win.

There wasn’t much of an update regarding Fowler’s condition following the game.

No doubt, that’s a bummer. Even so, the Ducks might just have to take what they can get, and tonight provided a win and maybe a boost in confidence for their captain.

***

Put this moment in the comic relief section:

Video: Benoit Pouliot with the rare no-helmet goal

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Edmonton Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot scored two goals in less than two minutes of game time on Sunday, and that’s not even the most memorable part of his strong work.

(Note: He still has a shot at a hat trick, too.)

Nope, the most amusing/noteworthy element was that Pouliot scored a goal after he lost his lid, as you can see in the video above this post.

Want to see his first goal of the evening? Watch below.

Update: Pouliot’s efforts didn’t generate standings points, however, as Calgary stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to win 5-3.