Claude Giroux reached a milestone of sorts Thursday against visiting Vancouver.

The diminutive center played in his 243d regular-season game as the Flyers' captain, surpassing Mike Richards for fifth place on the team's all-time captain list.

A quiet person, Giroux leads by the relentless way he plays the game.

Giroux has a "ton of qualities. At the top of the list is his intensity and competitiveness," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said before the game. "I could give you a long list, but let's start with those things, and those are two pretty good things to start with as a leader."

Giroux, who turns 28 on Jan. 12, has played more games than any Flyers captain since Eric Lindros' 360 games from 1994 to 2000.

Chris Pronger had the biggest influence on him as a captain, Giroux said. After a playoff loss, players would be upset and throwing things, "and Prongs would be the calmest guy, the most relaxed guy in the room," Giroux said. He said Pronger taught him to "put it behind you and be ready for the next one."

Only Bobby Clarke (610), Dave Poulin (392), Lindros, and Ed Van Impe (311) have played more regular-season games as a Flyers captain.

Giroux, the NHL's leading scorer over the last five years, said he has had "a lot of help through the years" from teammates and coaches to grow into his leadership role. "It's fun to be captain here because you don't feel you're by yourself," he said.

Gagner out

Forward Sam Gagner, who had been sidelined by a concussion, is healthy again but was scratched from the lineup against the Canucks.

Gagner missed his 11th straight game.

"It's a matter of when's the right time for our team and the right opportunity for him to come back in," Hakstol said. "That's a tough situation for him. He's a good player, and his opportunity will come."

In 18 games, Gagner has two goals, five points, and a plus-1 rating.

When Mark Streit returns in about nine days, the Flyers are going to need to clear salary cap space to keep gifted rookie Shayne Gostisbehere on the roster. The Flyers might send Gagner, Scott Laughton or R.J. Umberger to the Phantoms. Brandon Manning is also a candidate, but his cap hit alone ($625,000) isn't enough to enable Gostisbehere to remain on the roster when Streit comes off the long-term injured list, according to


Defenseman Luke Schenn may be able to return to the lineup for Saturday's game in Columbus, general manager Ron Hextall said. . . . The Flyers began Thursday second in the NHL in hits (945) and sixth in blocked shots (471). Radko Gudas was tied for second in the NHL with 137 hits, and Nick Schultz was ninth with 72 blocked shots. . . . The Flyers host St. Louis on Monday in their last game before the Christmas break.