Flyers' Claude Giroux: 'I have to be better'
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Flyers captain Claude Giroux points a finger at himself for the top line's struggles.
His linemates say they all need to be better.
Whoever deserves the blame, one thing is certain: The Flyers need Giroux and his wingers, Michael Raffl and Brayden Schenn, to regain their mojo if they are going to make a playoff run.
The second line, bolstered by the addition of Jake Voracek, has been the Flyers' most effective unit since it was revamped five games ago. Voracek has eight points in the last five games.
But Giroux and his linemates have struggled recently. Giroux has not scored a point in his last five games, his longest stretch since the first five games of the 2013-14 season.
"I have to be better. It's not acceptable," Giroux said after the Flyers' sloppy 4-2 defeat Sunday in Anaheim. "Our line has to be better, and obviously it starts with me. It's frustrating when you don't get the job done."
"All of us have to be better," Schenn said Monday after practice at Sharks Ice. "The past four or five games, we haven't been producing. It all starts with winning battles. When we were good for that stretch of five, six, seven eight games there, we were getting on the forecheck, [getting opponents to] turn over pucks, and playing close together and supporting one another."
The line has been together for the last 15 games.
Giroux, who leads the Flyers with 28 points, said it "goes back to playing the game simple. Work hard and battle and things will come back and we're going to win more games."
The Flyers' captain, one of the league's best faceoff men, went 2 for 16 Sunday on draws, most of which were against Ryan Kesler. Entering the night, Giroux had won 58 percent of his draws while Kessler had won 56 percent.
In the second period, Giroux winced in pain as he was slashed on the hand by Carl Hagelin. He was asked how much it affected him on faceoffs.
"None. I wasn't good enough, that's all," said Giroux, who was minus-2 and committed a slashing penalty that led to the Ducks' first goal. "I have to find a way to battle more on faceoffs. I'm pretty frustrated with myself."
Coach Dave Hakstol said he isn't concerned about the Giroux line's slump.
"They did a real good job for us and had a great stretch," he said. "Obviously right now the puck's not going in the net for them. I do think that group has to elevate a little bit. The last two games weren't their best. We'll just look for them to come back and be at their best."