Claude Giroux's two-goal effort propelled his Philadelphia Flyers (36 points) over the Columbus Blue Jackets (32 points) in a thrilling come-from-behind 5-4 victory at home on Thursday. Saturday's sequel, which will take place in Ohio, gives the Flyers' captain an opportunity to prove that recent history will be repeated. The rematch takes place at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet (CSN) Philadelphia.
There's a large gap between the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins' 53 points and the New York Islanders' 27-point last place effort. The six-team ice cream layer between those divergent two cookies currently looks playoff-able.
The Flyers remarkable third period comeback and Giroux's fiery performance (game-tying and game-winning goals) in that last frame were not coincidental. While the 'C' clearly weighed heavily on 'G' last season and through the first part of this one, the captain's youth and talent haven't waned.
The one-hundredth goal of the Ontario native's career will likely rank among his all-time best, no matter how long the soon-to-be 26-year-old (January 12) plays. His Peter Forsberg-esque milestone goal gave the Flyers five tallies in Thursday's third period.
Giroux's mean backhander from the lower tip of the left faceoff circle remarkably lifted the puck over his own shoulder and past Jackets defenseman David Savard, who pushed 'G' to the ice during the play. Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney didn't lose sight of the frenzied action, but was still unable to stop the destined disk with his glove hand.
Craig Berube re-instituted defensive order across the ice when he assumed head coaching duties shortly after the start of the season. If the 'Chief' is able to promote consistent offensive play and purposeful passion from his orange and black bunch through the spring, playoff games will be back in fashion.