Claude Giroux

Flyers’ Giroux bites the jersey of Gudbranson

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You go to line up for a faceoff, you get a little hungry. Why not bite the jersey of an opponent, right?

During Thursday’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers, Claude Giroux bit into the jersey of defenseman Erik Gudbranson for a second or two as they were about to lineup on a draw. More importantly, the Panthers defeated the Flyers by a final score of 2-1 in the shootout.

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Crosby back for Pens after missing three games with the mumps

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Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby will return to the lineup tonight when the Pens take on the Avs at Consol, the team has announced:

Crosby’s missed the last three games with the mumps, during which the Pens have gone 2-0-1. No. 87 heads into tonight’s game looking to snap a seven-game goalless drought, though that’s not to say he hasn’t been productive; Crosby has 35 points through 27 games this year and is one back of Philly’s Claude Giroux for the NHL assist lead (27).

Steve Mason shuts the door, Flyers end losing skid at six games

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The Philadelphia Flyers got the lead. Then they had to hang on as the L.A. Kings pressed.

Goalie Steve Mason was certainly busy, making 37 saves as the Flyers managed to escape L.A. with a 2-1 victory over the Kings, despite getting outshot 38-16. Philadelphia, which snapped a six-game losing streak, got goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, taking a 2-0 lead. The Kings, so dominant at home this season, came close but couldn’t complete the comeback.

The Flyers, facing scrutiny for their struggles so far, managed to test Jonathan Quick only nine times in the final 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Mason faced a steady barrage of rubber for just his fifth victory of the season.

Busy as he was, his teammates in front of him did their best in putting up a protective, shot-blocking shield, too. The Kings had 22 shot attempts blocked.

“We didn’t get a lot through to him. A lot of really good chances that we had were either blocked or didn’t get all the way there. I don’t think it was goaltending that beat us,” said Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

The Flyers, with this win and a victory against L.A. on Oct. 28, complete the regular season sweep of the Kings.

“They’re Stanley Cup champs. That should do a lot for us. It shows that we can hang in there with the big boys,” said Simmonds, as per Curtis Zupke of NHL.com.

Flyers’ Mason: ‘Everybody is frustrated and ticked off’

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The Philadelphia Flyers lost their fifth straight game on Tuesday to drop to 8-13-3. Combined with the fact that San Jose Sharks forward Matt Nieto scored in the dying seconds of the third period to deny Philadelphia at least one point, it becomes easy to view this as a very tough loss for Philadelphia to swallow.

Even still, there was clearly a silver lining for the Flyers as they, for the most part, played a solid game.

“We played one of our best games in a while,” captain Claude Giroux told CSN Philly. “We played as a team. We had chemistry out there. Obviously, the results won’t show how well we played. … If you can build off a game we lost, we can keep our heads high.”

Not everyone wants to look at the bright side though, given the gravity of Philadelphia’s situation.

“We’re all tired of moral victories,” goaltender Steve Mason said. “The team played a good game but you don’t win it. It’s not good enough. Enough of the moral victories.

“We got to go out and start winning hockey games. Everybody is frustrated and ticked off, but it’s a matter of going out and winning now.”

Philadelphia will have a chance to end its slump Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. In the meantime, here are the highlights from Tuesday’s contest:

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Sharks battle to bury rough start

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the San Jose Sharks host the Philadelphia Flyers at the SAP Center at 10:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Flyers and Sharks are two of the league leaders in one category so far this season: frustration. Neither team is terrible, but they have struggled mightily lately.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

In some ways San Jose is the bigger offender because it arguably had higher expectations coming into this season. Sure, there was all that offseason talk about them becoming a “tomorrow team,” but that didn’t translate into them becoming a rebuilding club. With that in mind, the emphasis is still on this season and how they might respond to their historic first round collapse against the Los Angeles Kings.

So far the answer is ‘not well’ as the Sharks have been both inconsistent and largely mediocre. It led to Sharks coach Todd McLellan admitting that his job’s on the line and forward Joe Pavelski lamenting that things only seem to get worse when they try harder. At least the Sharks were able to earn a 6-4 victory over Anaheim on Saturday though, so they’re coming into this contest off of a high note.

“There haven’t been too many moments in our games so far this season where that we can be happy with and say, ‘let’s build on this,’” Sharks forward Tommy Wingels told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve given ourselves an opportunity. [Tuesday] night is an opportunity for us to string two wins together, and that’s how you start a streak.”

In the Flyers’ case, a winning streak would be a nice change of pace, but before they can start thinking about that they need to end their current four-game slide. There’s been a lot of different problems in Philadelphia, but the biggest issue right now is its lack of secondary scoring. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux have been two of the best forwards in the league this season, but they need more support if the Flyers are to dig themselves out of their current hole.

“Never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been in hockey,” Flyers owner Ed Snider said, referring to the team’s lack of secondary scoring. “Even when we were an expansion team, somebody chipped in here and there.”

If the postseason started today, neither squad would be a part of it, but fortunately there’s still plenty of hockey left to play. There’s talent on both of these teams, they just need to put it to better use.