The Philadelphia Flyers were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 at PNC Arena on Friday and were spared an even bigger loss.
Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux, who is among the NHL scoring leaders with 43 points, sustained a lower-leg injury about 4:45 into the third period and did not return. The injury appeared to be serious, but Giroux said after the game he is probable to play Saturday at the New Jersey Devils.
Giroux and Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk were in the corner of the Hurricanes zone when Faulk's skate made contact with the back of Giroux's left leg. Giroux's leg was bleeding and he was helped off the ice by trainers. He did not put any weight on the leg.
Giroux said he was surprised the injury wasn't worse.
"My first reaction was [Erik] Karlsson, and what happened to him (with his Achilles injury in 2013)," Giroux said after the game, referencing the Ottawa Senators defenseman to CSN Philadelphia. "I got lucky. It was pretty scary. I'll see how it feels, but I would think [I can play Saturday]. I'm just happy I'm good.
"I knew I got hit. I tried to put pressure on [my leg] and it was really weird and didn't feel really good so I kind of panicked a little bit. The doctors did a good job, and I'm pretty lucky they were there."
The Flyers (14-17-7) were trailing 2-0 when Giroux was injured.
The Hurricanes (11-23-4) took the lead at 13:41 of the first period when Brad Malone scored on a rush that began with a turnover in the defensive end. Flyers defenseman Mark Streit had the puck stolen from him by forward Zach Boychuk, who passed to Malone, and Malone skated from his blue line the length of the ice. He scored from inside the right circle on a snap shot over Steve Mason's right shoulder.
Carolina took a 2-0 lead 41 seconds into the second period. Jordan Staal shot from in tight off the post, and the Flyers couldn't clear the puck. Faulk took a shot from inside the right point that Mason saved, but he couldn't control the rebound, which was put in by Eric Staal.
"It was big to get that first one and we kind of kept it going," Eric Staal told the Hurricanes website. "I thought we were on the attack, especially in the second period. It was a solid effort."
The loss was the fourth straight for the Flyers, who are 3-3-1 on an eight-game road trip that ends Saturday.
Flyers center Chris VandeVelde made it 2-1 in the third period at 8:45 after wing Vincent Lecavalier did most of the work setting it up. Defenseman Mark Streit sent an outlet pass to Lecavalier, who weaved his way through the Carolina defense and found VandeVelde with a drop pass at the left point. VandeVelde took a snap shot that beat Cam Ward over his glove.
Carolina was able to control two of the League's top scorers, Giroux and Jakub Voracek (47 points).
"Those guys skate very well. Especially Voracek, when he gets the puck in his own zone he can fly," said Ward, who made 23 saves. "I thought we did a great job of containing them."
The Hurricanes, who ended a three-game losing streak, killed three penalties and have not allowed a goal in their past 19 shorthanded chances.
"That's a good power play they went against tonight," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "They went 3-for-3. A huge one in the third period. The game was on the line basically at that stage and I thought they did a really nice job."