Flyers' Giroux feels 'pretty good' after late-game scare
GLENDALE, Ariz. _ Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he felt "pretty good" and was not having ill effects from hitting his head late in Saturday's 2-1 loss in Arizona.
The Flyers can recover from the defeat. They probably can't make the playoffs if Giroux is sidelined.
Giroux looked dazed as he left the game with 2 minutes, 15 seconds left. The center's head appeared to hit the wall after a hit by Martin Hanzal, who received a five-minute boarding penalty.
After leaving the game, Giroux was examined by a doctor and went through the concussion protocol, and he said more would be known Sunday.
As for the hit by Hanzal, "it happened pretty quick. I kind of got tangled out there," said Giroux after the game.
"I pushed him with one arm," Hanzal said. "Obviously, he's their captain, so they went after me. I don't understand. They went after me and I didn't do anything."
Hanzal got a five-minute major for boarding and a 10-minute misconduct. Wayne Simmonds, who tried going after Hanzal, also received a 10-minute misconduct.
Earlier in the third period, Radko Gudas sent Arizona captain Shane Doan to the locker room when he knocked him into the boards. No penalty was called. (Afterward, the Coyotes said Doan was fine but was held out of the game for precautionary reasons.)
Hanzal said the hit was "a little dirty."
When asked if the Coyotes were sticking up for Doan after he went to the locker room , Hanzal said, "When someone goes after our captain, it's usually what happens. We wanted to make sure we finished strong."
He wasn't specifically talking about his hit on Giroux.
The Flyers, who finished a 2-1-1 road trip, missed a chance to move ahead of Detroit in points. They both have 85 points.
"It would have been nice to get this one, but we'll put it behind us quickly and get ready to go back home and have a good homestand," goalie Steve Mason said.
The Flyers have eight games remaining, while the Red Wings have seven. The teams will meet each other in Detroit on April 6.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol was asked about the team's missed opportunity Saturday.
"That's the nature of the race; we've been battling hard this entire road trip and we battled pretty hard tonight," said Hakstol, whose team outshot the Coyotes, 35-17. "But we came out on the short end."
The Flyers are tied with the Detroit for the final wild-card spot, but the they are considered ahead because they have a game in hand on the Red Wings.
Arizona took a 2-0 lead on a goal that was reviewed twice in the closing seconds of the second period.
The first review was to determine if Michael Stone's goal had beaten the buzzer. It did. By 0.5 seconds.
After that decision was announced, Hakstol asked for another review, claiming goaltender's interference.
The Coyotes won that review, too,
Arizona rookie Max Domi was jostling with defenseman Brandon Manning in front, and Domi's arm appeared to hit Mason's mask, making it hard to see as Stone scored from the high slot.
"My mask got pushed to the side and my chin guard got in my line of sight, so I couldn't see a thing," Mason said. "I didn't have enough time to get it adjusted where I could see through."
The goal turned out to be the game-winner.
"We played a good game," Giroux said. "We didn't get the result we wanted, but we can definitely look at this road trip as pretty good."
Starting Monday, the Flyers play their next three games at home, hosting Winnipeg, Washington, and Ottawa.
"There's not a lot of games left. We need to keep working on our game, and I think we've been doing that all season long," Giroux said. "I think the next eight games are going to be fun to play."
If the Flyers had won Saturday, it wouldn't have been surprising if Hakstol gave Anthony Stolarz his first NHL start against the Jets on Monday.
Now, with little margin for error, it appears Mason will keep playing.
Breakaways. Arizona's first goal, scored on the power play, snapped a streak of 19 straight penalty kills for the Flyers.....There were hundreds (thousands?) of orange-clad fans in attendances and several loud "Let's Go Flyers" chants throughout the road game..... Before Saturday, the Flyers had points in six straight road games....Winning goalie Mike Smith (34 saves) is 4-1 since returning from abdominal surgery and has a .965 save percentage in that span...Shayne Gostisbehere and Jake Voracek each had five shots.....Arizona has won three straight.