DALLAS Granted, it wasnt Sidney Crosby coming back from a concussion after nearly an entire year away from the game, then turning in a four-point performance.
Nonetheless, it was a rather impressive feat for Flyers center Claude Giroux on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
After missing four games concussed, Giroux had a stunning impact in his return against the Stars with a four-point effort (goal, three assists) as the Flyers routed the Stars, 4-1.
Those four points allowed Giroux to regain the NHL scoring lead with 43 points.
When I woke up I felt great and I think that was important for me, and how the whole day went. I had no symptoms, said Giroux, who had an optional morning skate, as well.
It was important for me to be 100 percent coming back. I felt pretty good out there.
Girouxs two points alone in the first period saw him break a logjam. When he left the lineup after Dec. 10, he was the NHL points leader with 39, just ahead of Torontos Phil Kessel.
During his absence, Pittsburghs Evgeni Malkin and Vancouvers Henrik Sedin tied him with 39, as well. Yet, no one passed him.
Giroux said of his four-point performance, I really didnt do much for those points. I just gave the puck to the guys and they took care of the rest.
We had a bad start. Our line was minus-1 after the first shift. It was important for us to get that goal back and we didnt look back after that.
Dallas struggled at the blue line without talented defenseman Stephane Robidas, who missed the game with a foot injury.
Coach Peter Laviolette said several times he thought Giroux would have that kind of impact.
I dont think you can tell how many points he is going to have, but he has clearly established himself as a top player in the league, Laviolette said. He was hungry to get back in there.
He gets back into a game, hes capable of that. It shouldnt surprise anybody.
Jaromir Jagr was salivating at the prospect of having Giroux back in the lineup. The G Man has meant much to Jagr, who had a two-point outing.
It was like old times, Jagr said. He had more energy because he was rested and excited to play again. Good to see. Im so happy for him.
Giroux got a soft rebound on Jagrs drive down the slot at 8:30 for his 17th goal of the season to draw the Flyers even at 1-1.
I went to the net and tried to open up a lane pass for Jags and I was able to get a little gift on the side there, Giroux said.
Three minutes later, Giroux assisted on Wayne Simmonds power-play goal as the Flyers forged ahead of Dallas, 2-1. The play was highlighted with a booming point shot from Kimmo Timonen that Simmonds redirected.
I was just standing in front of the net and G made a good play to Kimmo, Simmonds said. I saw Kimmo was trying to find a lane. He shot the puck and I was just able to get a piece of it.
The game got chippy in the second and it may have had something to do with coach Peter Laviolette and Dallas forward Steve Ott shoving each other between periods as they walked up a common tunnel between the two benches that the visiting coaches use, but not the visiting team (see story.)
Ott accused Laviolette of not showing respect by allowing the Stars to use the tunnel first. Laviolette refused to comment on the incident, which is expected to be reviewed by the NHL on Thursday.
Ott did have some nice things to say about the Flyers power play, which was 2 for 5 in the game.
Let's be honest they have a great high-scoring team, Ott said. They're the top scoring team in the league. If you give them chances on the power play you're going to shoot yourself in the foot. They did a good job of spreading our penalty kill out.
That period also saw Jagr make it 3-1 off the rush with his 11th goal from Girouxs second assist during a Flyer power play. The goal was Jagrs 657th, giving him sole possession of 11th place all-time over Brendan Shanahan.
Dallas only goal came on the opening shift of the game in transition after Girouxs line almost scored on goalie Richard Bachman. Just like that, Girouxs line was minus-1.
I knew right away the first shift, even though they scored, we had a chance, Jagr said. I didnt even worry about the goal they scored. I knew we could score a lot.
Which is precisely what happened. Their line had eight points among themselves.
Things really began to unravel after Jagrs goal as Ott got into it with Marc-Andre Bourdon and then Brendan Morrow got in Bourdons face, as well.
He was chirping at everybody, I asked him to fight me but he was just chirping at everybody, Bourdon said of Ott.
Bourdon said he was defending Giroux after Ott hit him hard in the opening period. Bourdon tried to fight him that period.
We went into the corner and he hit me pretty good, Bourdon said. I went to the bench and he turned around and I said, You want to fight?
Ott didnt oblige.
Hes just a bleep, I guess, Bourdon said.
Before the period was over, Sheldon Souray threw his stick out at Jagr after the whistle, then Souray exchanged words with Tommy Sestito and also roughed up Harry Zolnierczyk
Somehow, Souray survived, while Sestito and Dallas Adam Burish, who was yapping with the Flyers as well, both got 10-minute misconducts.
Amid all this chaos, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had a number of fine stops, including robbing Radek Dvorak from the crease. Bobrovsky finished with 30 saves.
Andrej Meszaros put the finishing touch on in the final period off Girouxs third assist of the game.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org.