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Giroux nets a pair as Flyers blitz Islanders, 7-0

by Dan Rosen

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux sent a message with his words late Saturday night. He followed through with his play Monday afternoon.

Less than 48 hours after criticizing his team's compete level in a lopsided loss in Montreal, Giroux played his best game of the season in the Flyers' most lopsided victory.

Giroux scored twice, including the opening goal 26 seconds into the game, and added an assist for his first three-point game of the season in a 7-0 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Giroux's line accounted for 10 points with Jakub Voracek accounting for four assists and Matt Read a goal and two assists as the Flyers snapped a two-game losing streak. Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his first shutout of the season while Danny Briere also had two goals and an assist.

Eleven of the Flyers 18 skaters recorded at least one point and their penalty killers held what was a red-hot Islanders' power play to only one shot on goal in five failed attempts, including a full two-minute 5-on-3 in the first period.

"I think as a team we weren't satisfied," Giroux said. "How we showed up every game and how we played as a team, I think it wasn't acceptable. [Monday] you saw everybody coming out, everybody was paying the price, everybody wanted to win. It's a lot more fun to play like that."

Following the 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Saturday, Giroux talked about how the Flyers "were just going through the motions."

He responded Monday on the first shift of the game by planting John Tavares into the wall 22 seconds into the game and scoring only his fourth goal of the season just four seconds later. He then had the primary assist on Read's goal 15 seconds into the second period and added a goal with 5:15 left before the second intermission.

"I think everybody took it [Giroux's criticism] personally and that was the goal, but once again it's the way he takes care of it himself to start the game," said Briere, whose two goals came in the final 10 minutes of the game. "We had no other choice but to follow through. That's huge leadership on his part."

Not only did the Islanders have no answer for Giroux and his linemates, they couldn't solve Philadelphia's aggressive forecheck. Tavares' line was on the ice for three of the Flyers' five even-strength goals.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano broke up that top line for a while, sending Brad Boyes down the lineup and moving Michael Grabner up to play right wing with Tavares and Matt Moulson.

Nothing worked. The end result was the worst shutout defeat on home ice in franchise history.

"We got away from what made us successful," said Tavares, whose personal five-game goal scoring streak came to an end. "We were not good on the little things. We didn't win too many battles. We didn't get to the front of the net. We just didn't play that aggressive style -- in your face, physical. We just didn't match their intensity and it really killed us."

So did the Islanders' power play, which was 7-for-12 in the three prior games. It was way off kilter on Monday due in large part to the play of the Flyers, who blocked eight shots on the penalty kill and forced turnovers by getting sticks into the passing lanes.

Philadelphia is 38-for-40 on the PK over the past 10 games, including 21-for-21 over the past six.

"Once we had that two-minute 5-on-3 and we didn't even generate anything, that deflated us," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We have to be able to generate momentum in that situation, and we have to be mentally stronger than that."

The Islanders head out for a three-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Ottawa and continues Thursday in Montreal. It ends Saturday in Buffalo.

"We just gotta get back to what we were doing and we gotta play desperate," Tavares said. "We can't let teams off the hook and we can't expect things to get easier. If it's like that it won't take us very far."

The Flyers felt similarly following their loss in Montreal. They held a short team meeting after that game and Briere said the message was the same as the one Giroux delivered publicly.

"It wasn't very long but it was to the point," Briere said. "We need everybody to get into the game. It can't just be two, three or four guys on different nights. That was basically the gist of the message."

It got through.

The Flyers used an early goal by Giroux and a strong penalty kill to get through the first period with a 1-0 lead. They opened a 4-0 lead after the second period because instead of trying to sit on the lead, they went right after the Islanders and got goals from Read, Schenn and Giroux.

It was more of the same in the third period as Harry Zolnierczyk used his speed to set up Zac Rinaldo for his first goal of the season at 3:31. Briere finished off the scoring with a pair in the final 10 minutes.

Briere has three goals in the past two games after scoring only two goals in his first 11.

"It was a complete game [Monday] for 60 minutes," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It started in the first shift and it started when the horn sounded 60 minutes later. A real complete game, all three zones."

The Flyers will try to bottle it up and take it to Pittsburgh for a game Wednesday. It's the final game of a season-long six-game road trip.

They're 2-3 so far.

"It's not about the message. It's about the whole team being on the same plan and having the same goals to win the game," Giroux said. "We can't be looking at the big picture right now. We're aware that we're not in the playoffs right now, but we have to look at the small picture. Every game we have to show up and play a full 60."


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