PHILADELPHIA – Yep, they did it again.
O.K., so it wasn’t a third period comeback this time, but it was a comeback nonetheless and it was capped off in dramatic fashion.
Claude Giroux scored the game-winner with 4.2 seconds remaining in overtime with a clutch time snipe coming down the right wing to give the Flyers 3-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said Vinny Lecavalier of Giroux’s shot. “I saw him skate up the ice and there’s 10 seconds left, so you’re thinking it’s probably going to go to the shootout. But what a great shot. He’s done it all year, big goals, and he’s clutch for sure.”
(The Flyers marketing department thanks you Vinny.)
Giroux also had an assist earlier in the game, giving him two points and moving him into fourth place by himself in the NHL scoring race with 71 points.
“I think it was a fun game to play,” said Giroux. “I’m sure it was a fun game to watch also, but I think we were just enjoying ourselves out there, just playing some hockey. It was rough, we got a hit, we were hitting, and that’s the best part of hockey.
“I knew when I went on the ice 15 seconds, maybe 20 seconds. I knew there wasn’t a lot of time, so I was just trying to shoot as hard as I can to the net and didn’t really aim, to be honest. I just shot it on net.”
And it went in, allowing the Flyers to win for the third consecutive game and hold onto second place in the ever-fluid Metropolitan Division.
What is supposed to be a brutal stretch of 12 consecutive games against playoff teams for the Flyers has started off famously with three straight wins – and as satisfying as a weekend sweep of the Penguins is, neither was as exciting as this incredible victory over Chicago.
It was the third consecutive regular season meeting between the teams in Philadelphia that came complete with a thrilling ending.
In March, 2010, Giroux set up Chris Pronger with a cross-ice tip in with three seconds left in regulation just two minutes after Scott Hartnell tied it.
And, in January, 2012, The Flyers coughed up a 4-2 lead in the third period , but the Flyers won on a goal by James van Riemsdyk with 32.8 seconds remaining.
None of it would have happened Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center though without the Flyers gumption coming out in spades in the first period.
After allowing a pair of goals to Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith 1:22 apart in the opening four minutes of the game, the Flyers once again showed they have heart… er… Hart as they tied it on a pair of goals by Hartnell.
Hartnell’s first goal was a bit flukey as it was an attempted pass from behind the net that hit off of Marcus Kruger and bounced past Antti Raanta to cut it to 2-1.
As fortunate as the first goal was the second was the result of the hard work that has become indicative of the identity of the Flyers.
Matt Read worked hard along the wall at the end of a long shift to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Eventually it squirted out onto the stick of Giroux who made a quick, heads up pass to Hartnell in the slot for a one-timer that tied the game.
|This is the face of a guy who deserves your consideration for the Hart Trophy... |
“They skated, they won battles, they won draws,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. “They did all the little things they needed to do to win the game. If you ask me, they deserve to win it – and we didn’t. Antti played great. We had a horseshoe you know where at some moments where the puck didn’t end up in our net.
“We didn’t get anywhere close to Razor [Ray Emery] after the first 10 minutes of the game. It’s frustrating. We didn’t do the little things again. That’s what it comes down to, it’s pretty simple.”
Emery, who got his first action in goal in more than three weeks, made 23 saves for the win and was strong after the opening minutes.
“It’s kind of the race to the finish right now,” Emery said. “It’s the start of that part of the year and I think we’ve been playing well. But we’re not separating ourselves from the pack that much. Teams are getting points so every game’s important. I think we’re doing well so far, but each game is a new challenge.”
NOTES: The Flyers have now beaten the Blackhawks in 10 consecutive regular season games at the Wells Fargo Center…With his two points tonight, Giroux moved past Ron Sutter into 20th place on the Flyers’ all-time scoring list. Giroux now has 115 goals and 247 assists for 362 points in his NHL & Flyers career…Giroux has 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in 27 games since January 4, which was the first game after the last time he was held scoreless in two consecutive games; five goals and nine assists for 14 points in eight games in the month of March and a four-game scoring streak, with a goal and six assists for seven points in the span…The Flyers are 18-2-1 this season when Giroux scores a goal and 29-12-3 when he posts at least one point, including 13 consecutive wins…The last time Hartnell scored two goals in one period was in the third period of a 5-4 win at Calgary on Feb. 25, 2012…The Flyers’ penalty kill went 3-for-3 tonight and has now been perfect in five consecutive games, going 18-for-18 during that time…The Flyers had 37 shots, giving them nine consecutive games of 30 shots or more. They’ve outshot their opponent in seven of those nine games.
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