Flyers and Claude Giroux stay hot in win over Blackhawks
Claude Giroux had three points, and Sean Couturier scored twice as the Flyers improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games.
Both the Flyers and team captain Claude Giroux are having their most successful runs of the young NHL season.
The events are clearly related.
With Giroux supplying a goal and two assists, the Flyers extended their points streak to six games with Saturday's 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (9-7-1) are 5-0-1 in their last six games and 2-0 on this five-game homestand. In the streak, Giroux has four goals and seven assists and is a plus-8. In 17 games overall, he has seven goals and 15 assists.
"When everybody is playing well, the job becomes a lot easier, and TK and Coots are playing very well, so we are trying to have good chemistry and keep going," Giroux said, referring to linemates Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier.
Against the Blackhawks, Couturier had two goals and an assist, and, like Giroux, was a plus-4, tying a career-high for both players. Konecny was scoreless but was a plus-2.
Giroux also moved to No. 4 on the Flyers' all-time scoring list with 699 points, passing Rick MacLeish's 697.
>> PHOTO GALLERY: Flyers 4, Blackhawks 0
"It is a great honor," said Giroux after his 50th career three-point game. "There have been a lot of good players who played here, and to be able to be in that group is really special."
The Flyers earned their first shutout of the season, with goalie Brian Elliott making 33 saves.
"Whenever you put a donut on the scoreboard, you feel good," Elliott said. "I felt on, and I was seeing pucks, and stuff was hitting me, and that is all you can ask for as a goalie."
Giroux got the Flyers on the board when he scored with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first period. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith made an errant pass from behind his goal that Giroux intercepted and backhanded past goalie Corey Crawford.
It was the sixth straight game the Flyers have scored the first goal.
The Flyers made Crawford work in the second period. He stopped Wayne Simmons on a rebound and made saves on breakaways by Konecny and Scott Laughton .
Chicago's Nick Schmaltz hit the left post on the Blackhawks' best chance in the second period.
Not to take anything away from the Flyers, but this version of the Blackhawks differs greatly from the 2010, 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cup champions.
Chicago (6-8-3) fired long-time coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday and replaced him with AHL coach Jeremy Colliton. The new coach has his work cut out for him.
The Flyers made it 2-0 with 10:48 left in the second period on a great effort by Couturier. He took a pass from Giroux near center ice, and Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner who was down on the ice, unsuccessfully swiped at the puck, allowing Couturier to skate in on goal. Fending off winger Chris Kunitz, Couturier, from an extreme left angle, shoved the puck inside the right post.
Couturier made it 3-0 by scoring his seventh goal with 15:44 left. Giroux took a pass from rushing defenseman Ivan Provorov and fed Couturier, who skated in on goal. Crawford made a save, but the puck went off the skate of former Flyer Brandon Manning and into the goal.
Nolan Patrick ended the scoring with an empty-net goal.
The Flyers are flying high, and Giroux, has been the catalyst.
"He is our leader," Couturier said. "It is his team, and he seems to be on a mission and playing some good hockey, making plays, battling hard, scoring some goals, and that is what you want for your captain, and it just pushed everyone to battle that much a harder."
"Battle" is used often to describe Giroux.
"What I really love about him is the battle level in tight areas, small area battles, the ability to come up with pucks and then make a play with it," coach Dave Hakstol said. "The rest of it is pretty obvious, and I think that anybody that's watching can see what he can do out there. I love the compete and the battle level."