To say it has been a struggle for Claude Giroux as of late is one of the most drastic understatements of recent memory. Not only had he been held for 15 games without a goal, but his play was being questioned by both the Philadelphia media and the Flyers faithful. In fact, a recent Philadelphia Daily News article pegged him as Brave Sir Robin, running away from battle.
Not the best compliment when you’ve been handpicked as arguably the best offensive Flyer since Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke.
But that all came to an end Saturday afternoon when Giroux finally found the back of the net, causing a collective sigh of relief from 20,000 fans, the media, management, coaches, and players in the Wells Fargo Center – not to mention the thousands more watching at home.
Giroux caused a turnover and brought the puck up the ice on a two-on-one into the opposing Edmonton Oilers zone. He made a move toward the center of the ice, then ripped a shot through the legs of the defender that was screening goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The puck just barely found its way into the net, unleashing a passionate celebration from Giroux, along with a Cheshire grin from ear to ear, and a mob awaiting him back at the bench. Oh, and the fans were pretty excited as well.
Giroux’s performance, which included enough opportunities for a hat trick, helped spark the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Oilers, marking just the second time all season Philadelphia has scored more than two goals – a stat that has more than frustrated chairman Ed Snider and GM Paul Holmgren.
Although it was a win over the second-worst team in the league, it is a glimpse of light for the Flyers, who have had tough luck this season. Fortunately for them, goaltender Steve Mason has been their best player, with a 2.34 goals against average and a .925 save percentage, both quite impressive on a team that has just 11 points this season and finds themselves in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
Nonetheless, a win is a win, and with Claude Giroux leading the team in points – despite his goalless streak – perhaps the Flyers can find a way to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and move forward.