CHICAGO - Much has been made of
's remarkable rise during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But Claude Giroux's ascension has been just as instrumental in the Flyers' postseason success.
After a mediocre regular season in which he scored 16 goals, Giroux has deposited 10 playoff goals - third in the NHL, behind Montreal's Mike Cammalleri (13) and the Flyers' Danny Briere (11) - and is fifth with 21 playoff points in 21 games.
And after a sluggish start in the first two games against the Chicago Blackhawks, he made Games 3 and 4 his own personal stage in the Stanley Cup Finals.
In those last two games, Giroux had four points and two goals - including the overtime winner in Game 3 - and was plus-5.
The 22-year-old center, like teammate Scott Hartnell, has put a so-so regular season behind him.
"I definitely think you can right some wrongs in the playoffs," coach Peter Laviolette said. "If you weren't happy with your regular season, the playoffs are an opportunity to write a new script for how your year went. It will probably be the script that's remembered, not the tougher times."
The Pronger factor
's dominance, it appears the Blackhawks will split up
, putting them on different lines and freeing one of them from the 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman for Game 5 on Sunday in Chicago.
"I guess it could go two ways," Pronger said Saturday of the expected line changes. "One, they haven't played together that much. So maybe they're a little out of whack. Or B, it sparks them, and fresh line mates and a new look, that gives them a little bit more offensive punch. I don't know. We'll see."
Pronger said the lineup change was "out of our hands. All we can do is continue to get better, play even better defensively, and make sure we're keeping them in the perimeter and Mike [Leighton] can see all the shots."
Asked if he took satisfaction in knowing Chicago was considering line changes because of him, Pronger said: "I don't necessarily think it's that. If you go back and look, our forwards have done a great job. You look at the line that's scoring against them, it's the Briere line. They've done a great job of making them play defense. Which, obviously, they don't want to do. They want to play offense. They want to have the puck. They want to control the pace of the game, control the game that way."
said the Flyers gained confidence that they can win in Chicago, despite dropping 6-5 and 2-1 decisions at the United Center to start the series.
"We lost the first two games here, but there were a lot of great things that happened in those two games," he said. "Now it's up to us. It's 2-2. It's up to us to try to play a better game here in Chicago for 60 minutes."
In the high-scoring first game in Chicago, Gagne said, "I think both teams were not too happy about their defense play. But the second game, I like the way we played, especially the second half of the game. I thought that the third period we played the game we wanted. Good forecheck, put everything at the net, created a lot of chances offensively; and at the same time, we played well in our zone."