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Flyers hope to see Giroux create more offensively

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 12:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / Rangers-Flyers series blog

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Rangers-Flyers series blog
Flyers hope to see Giroux create more offensively

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Forward Claude Giroux took a hard tumble into the boards during the Philadelphia Flyers' morning skate Tuesday but popped right back up and said afterward he felt fine.

The Flyers hope he feels just as good after they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, SNET-360, MSG, CSN-PH).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 1-1, but Giroux has zero shots. He does have an assist and a plus-3 rating, but for a player who finished third in the NHL in scoring with 86 points and tied his career-best with 28 goals, the hope is there's more offense for him to contribute.

The Rangers have done a good job neutralizing his chances by using 6-foot-7 center Brian Boyle and shutdown defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi against him, but Flyers coach Craig Berube said Giroux has to fight through it.

"He worked hard, and you've got to keep continuing to work hard and find shots," Berube said. "They're tight-checking [and] they're good at it. … He's going to get checked. He's got to fight through it. He understands that. He's working hard and doing that."

Giroux said the key is finding the line between contributing and not trying too hard to make something happen when it's not there.

"That's one thing as a team we can't be doing and that's trying to force it too much," he said. "If we play good defense our offense will follow."

His teammates aren't worried about whether Giroux appears on the score sheet or not.

"He's a plus-3, he's got one assist, he's been very good defensively," linemate Jakub Voracek said. "We are 1-1 on the road. He's a great leader. Not always he has to put up four points to make a difference in a game."

Berube said he wants to see more offense from the Flyers as a whole after they had 40 shots total in Games 1 and 2. To facilitate that, he shifted Vincent Lecavalier to center on the second line and pushed Brayden Schenn from that spot to left wing on the second line, along with Wayne Simmonds at right wing. Lecavalier played most of the third period of Game 2 in that spot. It was a move Berube was forced into because Michael Raffl, who had been playing left wing on the second line, was tired from killing penalties in the second period.

"We killed so many penalties Vinny wasn't getting out there a lot and neither were Schenn or Simmonds," Berube said. "When the third period rolled around I adjusted my lines a little bit. They were fresh. … They had played together before and they looked good to me."

Lecavalier, who averaged 8:24 of ice time per game in the first two games, said he's looking forward to the additional playing time that comes with the move.

"It feels good," he said. "Both games I played some shifts with them. Played a little more in the third period of [Game 2] with them. I think we had some good chances."

Berube said he has certain expectations for the line.

"They need to be a hard forechecking line and they need to win battles down low," he said. "They're three big guys that can get in there and control the game down low. That's their game. That's what they have to do. And when pucks turn over or they don't have it, they need to get back and help out."

Goalie Steve Mason skated for about 35 minutes before practice with goalie coach Jeff Reese, then alternated with backup goalie Calvin Heeter during drills in practice. Mason had said Monday he would not dress for Game 3, but Berube, possibly playing a little bit of gamesmanship, wouldn't commit to anything.

Asked if Mason looked good enough to at least be the backup Tuesday, Berube said, "There's always a chance," then ended the press conference.

Here are the projected lineups:

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds

Jason Akeson - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Calvin Heeter

Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Chris VandeVelde, Tye McGinn, Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson

Injured: Steve Mason (upper body), Steve Downie (upper body)

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Daniel Carcillo

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Jesper Fast, Justin Falk, Raphael Diaz, Ryan Haggerty, J.T. Miller

Injured: Chris Kreider (hand)

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— New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis after scoring his 1000th NHL point on Friday
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