After contracting COVID-19, Claude Giroux missed his first two games in five years. The last time he was out was a three-game stint due to injury back in February 2016. Upon his return five years ago, he registered a power-play goal. On Wednesday, the return of the Captain proved to be a spark in the Flyers’ 4-3 win against their hated rivals from Broadway, the NY Rangers, while aiding a previously stagnant power-play.
An explosive return
Going into Wednesday’s game, the Flyers had lost their previous two games, one being in overtime to the Rangers. A two-game losing stretch doesn’t seem like much in the long run. However, the Flyers lost four of their last five, only picking up three points in the process. They also remain winless against the Bruins. Couple that with over a week-long shut down due to COVID-19 protocols, and the energy was high ahead of Wednesday’s matchup.
The Captain matched that energy, registering three assists in just under 21 minutes of ice time. Giroux wasn’t just good, he was noticeable. Every shift he was on the verge of making something happen. He was the best Flyer on the ice all night. In addition to his assists, G registered seven shots on net and won 73% of the face offs he took.
With AV having to shuffle lines due to a lack of depth, a line of centers was put together in the way of Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, and Nolan Patrick. The trio turned out to be quite the dream team. They spent a lot of time in the Rangers’ zone and scored the game-winning goal on an amazing snipe from Hayes. The pass was pretty ridiculous.
Claude Giroux sits with the ELITE
To quote the rock and roll and hairband pioneers from Delco, Cinderella, “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Having Giroux and the other players out of the lineup, showed that the Flyers are lacking in scoring depth. Giroux’s return may have silenced some of his critics.
He passed Bill Barber for second-most games played by a Flyer with 903. He will pass the Hall of Famer on Saturday as they travel to Buffalo.
Having scored 829 points, Giroux is now in the top 150 in most points scored in NHL history. He is tied with Brent Sutter at 148th best. Look for him to inch closer to the top 125 by season’s end.
Claude also is in the top 100 in points per game in NHL history, currently sitting 99th best at .918 PPG. To put that into context, he is in the conversation with Hall of Famer Mark Recchi, future Hall of Famer, Joe “Jumbo” Thornton, and holds an edge on Hall of Famers Mike Modano and Martin St. Louis.
Wwithout Giroux, the Flyers are just not as good. Giroux and Sean Couturier drive the offensive play. Without either, the team suffers. At this time there just isn’t enough depth to cover either of them being out of the lineup. A blistering return showed just how valuable Giroux is to the Flyers and contextualizing it just makes you realize how lucky Philadelphia is to be able to call Captain Claude one of their own.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre