DETROIT — When Eric Lindros returned to Philadelphia for his jersey retirement in late January, he and current Flyers captain Claude Giroux were photographed several times in private conversation.
Giroux is in his fifth season as Flyers captain, one short of the six Lindros served and two short of Bobby Clarke's franchise mark of seven seasons. Like Lindros, he has felt the thrill of a long playoff run and the sting of falling a few games short of a Cup. While never the lightning rod that 88 was, especially towards the bitter ending here, Giroux has also been subjected to his share of criticism by media and fans alike, especially when injuries limited his productivity over the previous two seasons.
So, did he give Giroux any advice about handling any of that?
"I wouldn't tell you if he did," Giroux said with a smile.
Giroux, of course has silenced many critics with a season that potentially could be his best. After putting up three assists on Tuesday in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings, Giroux has 26 goals and 61 assists for 87 points – six short of his career high, set in 2011-12.
In the second period, he assisted on Sean Couturier's goal for career point No. 660, which passed Lindros for fifth on the Flyers all-time scoring list.
The feat wasn't lost on him. "It does," when asked before the game if passing Lindros on the list meant something to him. "Just for what he's done for the organization and how successful he was with the Flyers. Obviously I've had a lot more games. But still, to be able to pass him is pretty special."
Giroux, 30, has played an even 730 NHL games over 10 seasons, all with the Flyers. Before his career was derailed by a series of concussions, Lindros notched his 659 points in just 483 games with the Flyers over his eight-year tenure with the team.
He was 28 when he was traded to the Rangers prior to the 2001-2002 season.
Most points, Flyers history
Through Tuesday's second period
Giroux is 30, and his rebirth this season as a productive left wing bodes well for his future. Two short of his career high in goals, he is less banged up at this critical time of the season than he has been in several seasons, and it now looks like he will be around for when Ron Hextall's youth movement really sprouts over the next few seasons – a true veteran who knows the joys of wearing the C on the Flyers sweater – and the heat that comes with it.
"Obviously there's expectations anywhere you go," he said before Tuesday's game. "Obviously Philly, they're one of the cities that are most passionate. With that a lot of expectations comes when you play for the Flyers. But that's good."
Michael Raffl's upper body injury (two weeks) ended his brief stint on the first line. Travis Konecny started on the right side of the top line with Sean Couturier (who finally got his 30th goal) and Claude Giroux, but coach Dave Hakstol started changing lines as the Flyers played poorly in the first two periods against Detroit … A healthy scratch in the Flyers previous two games, Jori Lehtera began Tuesday's game on the fourth line with Scott Laughton and Matt Read … Of Valtteri's Filppula's 11 goals this season, four have decided the outcome.