Despite a seemingly lost season with the Philadelphia Flyers almost certainly missing the playoffs, captain Claude Giroux continues to shine.
The 33-year-old Giroux scored two goals in the final 1:26 of what became a 4-3 shootout win over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The two goals extended his career points total to 850 for third place in franchise history behind only Bobby Clarke (1,210) and Bill Barber (883).
Giroux will try to keep adding to his total Tuesday night when the Flyers play the Devils again, this time at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Devils have dropped 10 in a row, with Sunday’s shootout the only point they have mustered since April 8. The teams will also meet on Thursday and Saturday this week, and again in the final game of the regular season on May 10.
“One thing that everybody knows who has been around G, and you guys have been around him much more than I have, is his desire to win, his desire to compete,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “That’s what you need from your captain; that’s what you need from your driving force. He’s doing everything he can to steer the ship in the right direction.”
“He’s one of the most competitive human beings out there,” teammate Sean Couturier said. “Everything he does, he wants to win. You have no choice but to follow that up. That’s what makes him a great leader and a great captain.”
The Flyers (22-19-7, 51 points) appeared to be headed for a stunning loss until Giroux rescued them. Goaltender Brian Elliott made 29 saves and performed admirably with Carter Hart sidelined for a fifth consecutive game with a knee sprain. It’s unclear whether Hart, Elliott or Alex Lyon will start on Tuesday.
The Devils, meanwhile, have been skidding in the wrong direction for quite a while.
For most of Sunday’s game, the Devils (14-27-7, 35) seemed to be primed for a rare victory. Until it all fell apart in the end.
“We seem to be saying it over and over, that it’s trending in the right way,” said Nathan Bastian, who contributed a pair of assists Sunday as the Devils built the 3-1 lead. “People start noticing it once the scoreboard starts to tilt. We got out to a lead and we felt comfortable with it.
“When you are up two goals in the last two minutes, you have to find a way to close it out,” Bastian said.
Miles Wood had a goal and an assist while Mike McLeod and Pavel Zacha scored a goal apiece. The Devils controlled the pace for just about the entire game.
“It’s tough, but I’m going to focus in on all the good stuff that we did,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “There was so much good in that game. We have to get by that. I thought we had a little panic late in the last minute-and-a-half, but we’ll get by that.”
After such a maddening loss, the Devils will head home to try to snap the 10-game skid. The Devils have struggled at home, going 4-17-3.
“We have to build on that,” Zacha said of nearly winning. “For almost three periods we were skating better; we were the faster team. We created a lot of chances and we were winning the game, and then the end happened. We have to build on that and keep playing the way we did.”
–Field Level Media