Giroux, Flyers erupt late for comeback victory


Giroux, Flyers erupt late for comeback victory


Five goals in the third period.

Five goals that turned a 3-0 loss into an improbable 5-4 victory (see Instant Replay).

Five goals that saw the Flyers go above .500 for the first time since the last game of the lockout shortened season.

Five goals that finally put Craig Berube’s team in a playoff spot -- third in the Metropolitan Division with 36 points -- for the first time this season.

“It’s a big win for our club,” understated Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

The G-man looked and played like the Giroux we’ve known for past couple seasons with two dramatic goals back to back to win the game.

“We stuck with it,” he said.

Berube was impressed with his centerman.

“He’s really skating and working and going the right way -- north,” Berube said. “His whole line is all working together well. Jake [Voracek] is skating well. He’s attacking with speed. [Michael] Raff is a real good compliment right now.”

Giroux’s game-winner with 1:38 of play was simply unconscious.

Falling down, back to the net, puck on the stick, and a blind, backhanded shot past goalie Curtis McElhinney.

Wells Fargo Center erupted like it was a playoff game. We haven’t seen that kind of emotion in a while here.

“To be honest, I haven’t seen the replay to know what happened,” Giroux said of that goal, which coincidentally was his 100th career NHL goal, as well. “Just trying to get it on net.”

Scott Hartnell got a good view.

"I was right in front and I thought he was just going to shoot it backdoor for a rebound, but I saw it in slow motion go into the top corner," Hartnell said. "I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' That should be top on SportsCenter tonight." 

When someone described his goal as “impossible” and how it happened, Giroux smiled.

“Going negative again, eh? No, I was just so tired, I was trying to get it on net,” he said. “Most of our goals, just shoot it on net. Go for rebounds.”

That’s why the Flyers were able to pull it out. They charged the net like a herd of buffaloes in the final period seeking out rebounds.

Eric Gustafsson rebounding Wayne Simmonds’ shot to bring the Flyers to within 4-3.
Giroux lunging his stick on a Raffl shot in the paint to make it 4-4 with his first goal of the evening at 16:14.

Now the Flyers are over .500. Over the hump.

You don’t think this was huge? Hey, Columbus coach Todd Richards was 36-0-1 when leading going into a third period.

“In the last two years, first time we’re over .500 or something like that,” Giroux said. “For us to get that step in earlier, to be over .500 and in the playoff race, it’s a little motivation for the guys. Hopefully, we can build on it.”

And to think, it was 3-0 after two periods.

A second period that was nothing short of simply embarrassing followed up by a final period that was nothing short of spectacular.

It’s hard to overcome a one-goal deficit in the NHL let alone three in the final period. In fact, the Flyers were 1-11-0 when trailing after two periods.

Berube called his team out between periods.

“Yeah, basically,” he laughed. “Just went and told this is what happened and why. They know. There’s a lot of character in that room. They understand fully. Sometimes they have to be told.

“We talked before the game about a playoff spot and being above .500 … We got outworked [in the second], but they responded in the third period with effort from everybody. It’s a great win. Our captain came up big.”

For himself, too.

“In practice you work on your stuff and just try to improve every game,” Giroux said.

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

VOORHEES, N.J. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol hasn’t had much consistency in his lines early on this season thanks to an array of injuries and suspensions. On the back end, though, the pairings have remained mostly constant through the first five games.

Yet, Hakstol decided to mix things up a bit and put the suddenly productive and confident Brandon Manning with the heralded rookie Ivan Provorov for Saturday’s game with Carolina.

Turns out, that pairing jelled and made an impact in the Flyers' 6-3 victory over the 'Canes.

“I thought they were pretty efficient as a pair,” Hakstol said following Sunday’s practice. “They defended well, they moved pucks out of the zone well and they added to the offense. It was a solid night for that pair.”

Provorov contributed a pair of assists while Manning scored on what Hakstol called “the play of the game," a dazzling goal that saw Manning get 'Canes goalie Eddie Lack down on the ice with a deke and then tuck it home as he skated around the net. Provorov logged 19:36 of ice time with his new partner recording a season-high 18:41.

“I thought we did well as a pairing,” Provorov said. “It was easy, shift after shift, just trying to keep the momentum going.”

The two were together again on Sunday and are expected to team up for their second straight game when the Flyers begin the week with a trip to Montreal to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

In their first outing as defensive partners, it was pretty evident the two worked well together, with both picking their spots to attack on offense with the other laying back. They each have a solid two-way game, as well, proving to complement to one another.

“He’s an easy guy to play with,” Manning said of the 19-year-old Russian rookie. “His English is great. I think he’s just going to keep getting better and better.”

Provorov returned the sentiment, adding that whomever he lines up next to, the goal is to get the most out of each other. He felt that’s exactly what they did Saturday against Carolina.

After five games, Manning (four points - one goal and three assists) and Provorov (three points, all assists) rank second and third in defensive scoring behind Shayne Gostisbehere’s five points (one goal and an assist).

With Radko Gudas set to return to the lineup on Tuesday night against Buffalo as just one more game remains on his six-game suspension and Michael Del Zotto nearing a return, Hakstol will once again be shuffling his defensive pairs in the near future.

Considering how much Gudas and Del Zotto played together last year, they’ll likely return as a pair, meaning another strong showing from the newly formed Provorov-Manning pair against Montreal could cement the two together once the Flyers' have their full arsenal of blue liners available.  

Future Flyers Report: Carter Hart named to Team WHL

Future Flyers Report: Carter Hart named to Team WHL

The Flyers’ season is in full force, with four games on the slate this week beginning Monday in Montreal in the first of a back-to-back set with the Canadiens and Sabres.

Before the puck drops to start the Flyers' week, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this edition, we feature a goalie general manager Ron Hextall is high on, another making his pro debut and head overseas to check in on a red-hot Swedish winger.

Carter Hart, G, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
The highlight of the week for Hart came Thursday, when the Flyers’ 2016 second-round pick was named to Team WHL for the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series, which begins Nov. 7 in Prince George, British Columbia. Hart will share the net with Kamloops netminder Connor Ingram, a 2016 third-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was an up-and-down week for Hart with the Silvertips, however, the week ended with his best performance of the season in a 3-1 win over Victoria on Saturday night. The 18-year-old stopped 37 of 38 shots, making 20 saves in the third period as the Royals went full throttle in an attempt to come back. (Victoria outshot Everett, 38-13, for the game.) Hart was solid Tuesday, turning aside 21 of 23 shots in a 2-1 loss to Spokane, but was pulled after yielding two goals on five shots in the Silvertips’ 4-3 overtime loss to Kelowna on Wednesday night. It’s been a strong start of the season, though, as he’s 6-2-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and one shutout.

Alex Lyon, G, 6-1/201, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
The Yale product had a rough professional debut Saturday night, a 5-4 overtime loss to Hartford, but to be fair, it wasn’t a great night for the Phantoms’ defense, either. Lyon surrendered five goals on 34 shots against, but did show glimpses of promise. He faced 18 shots in the second period and stopped 16 of them. He held the fort down in the third period, allowing the Phantoms to tie the game and force overtime. As the AHL schedule ramps up, it’ll be interesting to see how Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon splits time between Lyon and Anthony Stolarz. After the game, Lyon said, via Highland Park Hockey’s Tony Androckitis, about the AHL, “It’s a little bit different (than college). The mood in here after is different. In college, you only get 30 games. Every time you lose a game, you want to sit in for the next 48 hours. Obviously feel it out, get a little bit better.”

Travis Sanheim, D, 6-4/202, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Sanheim, another first-year pro, picked up his second assist of the season Friday night in Lehigh Valley’s 5-2 loss to the Sound Tigers, picking up a secondary helper on veteran Colin McDonald’s second-period marker. On Saturday, however, Sanheim had a bumpy performance against the Wolf Pack. With his partner, Robert Hagg, the pair combined for six penalty minutes and quite a few turnovers. Sanheim was whistled for two stick infractions, and two failed clears on one sequence led to Hagg getting caught for a cross check. Rough night.

Oskar Lindblom, LW/RW, 6-1/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
If it appears we’re highlighting Lindblom a lot this season, it’s because we are. The 20-year-old continued his scorching start to his campaign last week with a goal and an assist. After 11 games, Lindblom is third on Brynäs IF with 10 points. Last week, Lindblom potted his fifth goal of the season in a 4-2 loss to Karlskrona on Thursday, and then added his fifth assist of the year in a season-high 17:13 during his team’s 5-3 defeat at the hands of Malmö on Saturday. Another productive week for the 2014 fifth-round pick.

Tanner Laczynski, C, 6-0/174, Ohio State (NCAA)
It’s been a pretty impressive start to Laczynski's freshman campaign with the Buckeyes. Laczynski had himself a four-point weekend against Bowling Green, racking up a goal and an assist in each of Friday and Saturday’s games, respectively. He has six points in five games with Ohio State. Laczynski is another curious story. He was eligible for the 2015 draft, but went undrafted. This past June, the Flyers plucked him in the sixth round. He impressed during the World Junior evaluation camp for Team USA in August, and is a candidate to make the team for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. It’ll be fun to track his development at OSU, too.

Quick hits
• It was a tough week for goalie Felix Sandstrom, who surrendered four goals in his only game last week for Brynäs IF, a 4-2 loss to Karlskrona.

Mark Friedman picked up two assists in Bowling Green’s 5-4 loss to No. 19 Ohio State on Friday night.

• Djurgårdens IF defenseman David Bernhardt enjoyed his best week of his young SHL career, scoring his first career goal Friday in a 5-4 loss to Linkoping and picking up an assist Wednesday against in a 3-2 shootout loss to Färjestad.

German Rubtsov had two goals and two assists in three of the Russian Knights’ games last week. He did not play last Monday. He was 42.1 percent in the faceoff circle.

David Kase was pointless in two games last week. He had registered seven points in his previous eight games entering the week.

Connor Bunnaman added a goal and two assists in three games last week for Kitchener. Bunnaman now has seven goals and 11 points in 10 games this season.

• It was a big week for Sarnia’s Anthony Salinitri, who had a hat trick and an assist Thursday against Peterborough and an assist the next night against Oshawa.