Tag: Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux

Giroux nets OT winner as Flyers top Stars


Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux scored the overtime winner at 2:49 of the extra period as the Flyers edged the Stars 6-5 in a back and forth affair in Dallas.

“Mixed emotions,” Giroux told CSN Philly. “We’re happy to win the game. To battle like that at the end and come back from 4-2, then they score again, we come back. Ugly win, but we’ll take it.”

The Flyers opened up a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. After Trevor Daley opened the scoring, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn gave Philadelphia an early edge.

However, Dallas scored three straight second period goals to to take a 4-2 after two periods. Daley had his second while Erik Cole and Jamie Benn had the others.

Andrew MacDonald pulled Philly to within one before the midway mark of the third period and Jakub Voracek tied it 4-4 with less than six minutes remaining in the third.

Dallas took its’ third lead of the night on Jason Spezza’s first of the season, but it was short lived as Michael Raffl scored less than two minutes later forcing overtime.

Voracek finished with a goal and two helpers in the win while MacDonald and Giroux each had a goal and an assist.

For Dallas, Spezza had a goal and three assists while Tyler Seguin assisted on four of the five Stars goals.

Steve Mason allowed four goals on 18 shots and was replaced by Ray Emery who made four saves for the win.

Kari Lehtonen allowed six goals on 37 shots in the loss.

“In the past, we saw couple comebacks. We put ourselves not in a good situation and then we find a way to win it,” said Giroux. “It’s good to get those kind of wins to bring the boys a little close. But let’s not have too many of those.”

The Stars received some bad news post-game as it was learned defenseman Patrik Nemeth will miss a good period of time. Nemeth was cut by the skate of Flyers’ forward R.J. Umberger early in the first period.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin in a music video almost too weird to exist

Alex Ovechkin

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.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell believes that 3-on-3 overtime would “all but kill” the shootout. (The Hockey News)

Fascinating stuff about Taylor Crosby – sister of Sidney – trying to carve out her own niche as a goalie at Northeastern University. (SB Nation)

Speaking of Sidney Crosby, The Score’s Justin Bourne provided a great breakdown regarding why his shot tends to leave goaltenders guessing. (The Score)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $10,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Jarome Iginla explains that his near-fight with Dion Phaneuf was merely a “heat-of-the-moment thing.” (Denver Post)

Simon Gagne’s signing could mean notable changes for the Boston Bruins’ fourth line. (CSNNE.com)

The Philadelphia Flyers are in a tough spot right now, but fans in need of a pick-me-up merely need to watch Claude Giroux’s ridiculous shootout goal on a loop:

Last, but certainly not least bizarre, Alex Ovechkin appeared in a music video for Katya Lel that’s just … *stares off into space like Ovechkin does for most of that really, really bizarre clip*

That clip comes via Russian Machine Never Breaks by way of Slava Malamud, although kudos are in order for Puck Daddy’s description of the video:

If you ever wanted to see a woman who looks like a mash-up of Robyn and Drea de Matteo groping a stone-faced Alex Ovechkin as he holds in a fart for three and a half minutes … Merry Christmas.

Can’t sum it up much better than that.

Flyers struggle in loss to Bruins: ‘It was like we were scared to make plays’

Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins

The Philadelphia Flyers found themselves in a decent position late in the third period against the Boston Bruins, but saw at least a single point slip away.

The Flyers, playing on the road in Boston, allowed a late goal from Chris Kelly in a 2-1 loss to open the 2014-15 season on Wednesday. Philadelphia got off to a slow start and managed only 20 shots on goal, but managed to somehow stick around, getting a tying goal from Sean Couturier early in the third period.

Not enough, as it turned out.

The Flyers found themselves under pressure, out-shot in two of the three periods.

Based on the comments of their captain, Claude Giroux, held without a point and just one shot on net, it seemed like they were never really got comfortable in this one.

“The first two periods, it was like we were scared to make plays,” Giroux said, as per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I don’t know about the other guys, but I would get the puck and I didn’t get the confidence to make a play . . . I need to relax, play the game.”

Risk Factors: Philadelphia Flyers edition

Craig Berube

From the same bunch of pessimists who brought you “Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup,” PHT presents a new series called “Risk Factors,” i.e. three reasons to be worried about each NHL team in 2014-15.

Philadelphia Flyers

1. The defense. Duh. A concern even prior to losing Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), the blueline is Philly’s biggest issue heading into this season — something head coach Craig Berube confirmed following a 6-3 exhibition loss to the Rangers.

“They’ve got to turn it up — they’ve got to play better,” Berube said of his blueline, per CSN. “It’s not just on them. It’s a team thing.

“We have to play better defense.”

The Flyers’ D has its problems. First and foremost is mobility, or lack thereof: Mark Streit (37 in December) and Nicklas Grossmann (30 in January) aren’t winning any speed-skating competitions while Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn are more physical defenders than agile ones.

There are also continuity and chemistry issues. Of the projected top six — Streit, Grossmann, Coburn, Schenn, Andrew MacDonald and Michael Del Zotto — only Coburn has been with the team for more than two seasons as the Flyers have constantly tinkered with their defensive mix. Schenn found a comfortable partner in MacDonald last year when the Isles blueliner came over at the deadline, but now Schenn’s paired with Del Zotto (who was signed in August as a stopgap replacement for Timonen), meaning MacDonald now skates with Coburn on what the club is calling its “top” pairing. That leaves Streit and Grossman as the other unit.

And if the blueline is hit by injury? Yikes. Reserve depth consists of journeyman Nick Schultz and whoever they can call up from AHL Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia was remarkably fortunate with regards to health last season — Streit, Coburn, Schenn, Timonen and Grossman combined to miss just 12 games — so it’s scary to think what the blueline might look like if one (or more) of the top six get hurt.

Finally, there’s Philly’s lack of an elite, top-line, heavy-minute shutdown guy. It’s something even GM Ron Hextall admits is missing.

“I’ve said it time and time again. We maybe don’t have that top guy, that No. 1 guy, but probably 20 teams in the league say the same thing,” he said, per NJ.com. “We’re going to go with the guys we’ve got.”

2. Steve Mason has expectations. Mason entered last season as a reclamation project in progress, looking to beat out Ray Emery for the No. 1 gig while playing on a relatively modest ($1.5 million) contract. Now, things are dramatically different; the 26-year-old is Philly’s clear-cut starter, one of the NHL’s 20 highest-paid goalies and counted on to maintain the form that saw him go 33-18-7 with a .917 save percentage and 2.50 GAA last season.

That requires consistency, though, and consistency has never really been Mason’s strong suit.

After one banner campaign in Columbus, he struggled to match that level in the three seasons following and battled with the mental side of things — “I think a lot of things here just got into his head,” former Jacket and current Flyer R.J. Umberger said at the time. Mason also struggled right around the time the ink dried on his three-year, $12.3 million extension with the Flyers, finishing January with a 5-5-1 record and .889 save percentage.

It’s also worth noting that, in Columbus, Mason had three years to try and rediscover his game. Tough to imagine Philly — a notorious goalie graveyard — giving him similar leeway.

3. The Vinny distraction. Roughly one year after giving Vincent Lecavalier a five-year, $22.5 million deal, the Flyers openly shopped him around the league. Ottawa, Nashville and Edmonton were just a few of the rumored landing spots for a guy that arrived with great fanfare, but is now a problem the team doesn’t really know how to solve.

The issue, in a nutshell: Lecavalier is 34 and slowed a bit, but still an offense-first guy that needs a quality role to be productive. That, however, doesn’t mesh with Berube, who wants sound two-way play and defensive responsibility from his big-minute centers — hence Vinny’s demotion to the fourth line last year and the on-again, off-again shift to left wing.

The Flyers need to find somewhere for Lecavalier to play. At first, they hoped it’d be in another city and now — well, at least to start the season — it’ll be back at center, where he’s the No. 3 behind Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.

But how long will that last?

It’s no secret Berube has issues with Lecavalier, something made crystal clear during the summer when Berube was asked how Lecavalier should deal with all the trade rumors:

“Get over it,” [Berube said].

Berube’s response to apparently being stuck for another season with an aging four-time All-Star whose defensive liabilities outweighed the 20 goals he scored in 69 games as a new Flyer in 2013-14?

“He just needs to change his game a little bit,” Berube said during a recent interview. “We talked about that after the season and he’s willing to do that.”

The change is reflected in Lecavalier’s projected wingers this season: Michael Raffl and R.J. Umberger, energy guys that aren’t exactly known for their offensive prowess. There’s no guarantee the trio will click and if they don’t…well, what then?

The bottom line is this: Lecavalier signed in Philly to be the No. 2 center in Peter Laviolette’s uptempo system, then got blindsided three games into his Flyers career when Lavvy was dumped and Berube took the reins. Now he’s playing in a role that doesn’t really fit his skill set, for a head coach that doesn’t really know what to do with him. It’s a distraction already. And it could easily get bigger.

Kings’ Doughty, Quick, Flyers’ Giroux finally make preseason debut

Drew Doughty
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Tuesday night was a time when some of the NHL’s biggest stars finally got into a preseason game after being held back due to their respective injuries.

Claude Giroux suffered what’s believed to be a groin injury at the start of training camp, but logged 16:53 minutes against the New York Rangers last night. It’s a good thing he managed to get some preseason ice time because he needed the opportunity to shake off the rust.

“I forgot how fast the game is,” Giroux said, per the Philadelphia Daily News. “The first period, I was pretty lost. I wasn’t sure what was going on. Slowly, I got the puck moving. It was good to get a game under my belt. I felt good.”

On the plus side, his injury didn’t bother him.

On the other side of the country, the Los Angeles Kings got defenseman Drew Doughty (upper body) and goaltender Jonathan Quick (wrist) back for an exhibition contest versus the San Jose Sharks. Both players were actually cleared ahead of Sunday’s game, but Kings coach Darryl Sutter decided to wait until last night to use them.

Unlike Giroux, who had his ice time purposely limited, Doughty wasn’t eased into the lineup. He scored a power-play goal and logged a team-high 22:55 minutes.

“I felt good physically and mentally, and it was a good game by the whole team,” Doughty told LA Kings Insider.

Quick stayed between the pipes for the first two periods and turned aside 16 of 17 shots. The Kings still have two preseason games left on their schedule and Quick is expected to get a full start in at least one of them.