Flyers find their offense
Claude Giroux scored his first goal of the season in the Flyers 4-2 win over Edmonton on Saturday. (USA Today Images)
He came into the Oilers’ zone from the left side and made a double move, first to freeze defenseman Andrew Ference, then goalie Devan Dubnyk.
That’s when Claude Giroux’s shot finally snapped a 21-game goal drought, lifting the weight of Wells Fargo Center off the captain’s shoulders.
“To see all the boys on the bench happy, too that was really fun,” Giroux said after the Flyers' 4-2 win over Edmonton (see Instant Replay). “I just wanted to put it on the net. Coming into the game, I said I was going to put it on net. That’s what I did.”
Instead of slamming his stick to the ice or trashing it altogether like he did in the second period after a double miss, Giroux held it high like an Olympic torch as his teammates surrounded him with congratulations.
“When I couldn’t be the player there to score the goal, I started smiling,” Giroux said. “It’s frustrating. It’s been a couple months now and it’s been tough, but getting that one got a lot of weight off. It’s a big win for us before we go on the road.”
Goalie Steve Mason left the net. Not to fight, but to celebrate with Giroux after the goal.
“Mace kept us in a lot of games this year and me and him have a good relationship,” Giroux said. “I go to him a lot and apologize for not putting the puck in the net. And he’s been great. Always pushing me, always telling me ‘it’s gonna come.’ Seeing him there was kinda cool.”
For the struggling Flyers, they hope this changes things throughout the lineup. Even Flyers enforcer Jay Rosehill got into the action with a goal that ended his personal 18-game skid.
Giroux’s teammates hope he can relax and stop squeezing his stick.
“G played a great game, it seemed like he had the puck on his stick the whole [time],” linemate Scott Hartnell said. “He had the breakaway, the one-timer, the empty net. It was almost getting funny on the bench because he had not gotten one.
“He made a great move and that’s the old G we all know and have learned to love. He’s back now. He feels great with the puck, and we got to keep that thing going.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube says he knows what the relief is like after finally ending a scoring drought.
“Anybody, even me when I played, when you get a goal after 40 games, you feel pretty good,” Berube said. “Sometimes I went longer.”
Throughout the game, you sensed Giroux was going to get one if only because he was emotional, he was diving, getting knocked to the ice, took a shot to the face and had 10 attempts at the net, including four pretty good shots.
Those four shots were the most Giroux has had since getting four on Oct. 11 against Phoenix.
“His effort has been great,” Berube said. “He’s worked hard most games and come to play, and he got some real good opportunities tonight and it finally went in. I’m happy for him. But G is happy we won the game. That’s what is important.”
Wayne Simmonds was convinced it was coming for him, especially after his two misses in front in the second period.
“It’s funny, I was actually watching him skate up the ice and he had a little smile on his face as if he knew he was going to get one tonight,” Simmonds said. “He pushed through and he did get one.”
This year's Santa sacks include two tickets to a Flyers game plus access to four ticket vouchers for two February Phantoms games here at Wells Fargo Center, an autographed Flyers puck, 2014 Flyers calendar, two flex tickets to a junior Flyers game this season and more. There are even upgraded Santa sacks that offer better seating and a stick signed by Vinny Lecavalier. Santa sacks start at $150 and can be obtained here or by calling 1-800-298-4200.