We’ve likely seen the last of Claude Giroux as a Philadelphia Flyer. Will he return in the future? That’s something to wrestle with at another time.
Tonight, it’s the beginning of a life without Giroux. He will not play on the road with the Ottawa Senators and this weekend at home versus the New York Islanders. He isn’t traveling with the Flyers to Ottawa because of the anticipation of an approaching trade with candidates like the Florida Panthers or Colorado Avalanche. In all probability, he won’t be with the franchise when the Islanders visit Philadelphia.
A win last night for the captain felt good. In regulation, Joel Farabee scored the game-winner, completing a storybook evening.
Giroux began his Flyers career against the Senators, where a new era without him starts.
Ottawa Senators (21-34-5; 47pts)
Tonight, the Ottawa Senators are without Tim Stutzle (lower body,) Drake Batherson (ankle,) Thomas Chabot (hand,) and Matt Murray (upper body.) Unlike the Philadelphia Flyers, they’re not playing back-to-back and lost their most recent game.
Here’s the projected lineup for the Senators:
Anton Forsberg (13-12-2, 2.84GAA, 91.6%SV) will start tonight for Ottawa. He’s only faced the Flyers once previously. In his career, he’s 0-0-1 with a 3.9GAA and 89.5%SV.
Brady Tkachuk (20G, 24A) earns the player spotlight. He leads the team in points. Tkachuk is dangerous against Philadelphia, averaging a point-per-game in seven career contests. Everything is magnified without Giroux manning up against a top forward defensively.
A Philadelphia Fly-By
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers will be without Scott Laughton (concussion,) Sean Couturier (back,) Nate Thompson (shoulder,) Ryan Ellis (lower body,) and Claude Giroux (asset management.)
Here’s the projected Flyers lineup:
Martin Jones (7-11-3, 3.42GAA, 90%SV) will start following last night’s victory. A back-to-back schedule fits Jones into the lineup. He’s 4-2-0 against the Ottawa Senators throughout his career, touting a 2.81GAA and 89.9%SV.
Setting the tone for Philadelphia is critical. Last night, Zack MacEwen (1G, 4A) did that when he took it to Michael McCarron. Expect the Flyers to maintain their buzz from last night. The fourth-line enforcer embraces physicality, and he’ll spark the entire bench.
Without Giroux, I expect to see hiccups from the Philadelphia Flyers in the offensive zone. If the Flyers win tonight, it’ll be because they mitigated their time spent in the penalty box. A glaring weakness for Philadelphia is usually special teams. Accentuating the positives with a disciplined brand of hockey will go a far way in achieving a victory.
Flyers 4, Senators 3
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)