PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers have been mired in a season-long slump that has seen them fall to the cellar of the Metropolitan Division. The team has been unable to generate much offense with the most notable frustration coming from the captain, Claude Giroux who was goalless until Saturday afternoon.
“It’s frustrating,” Giroux said. “It’s been a couple months now and it’s been tough. But to get that one kind of took a lot of weight off.”
The entire Flyers bench rose as one to applaud their captain who had avoided the press earlier in the week after a closed door team meeting.
“It was obviously a lot of relief,” Giroux said. “To see all the boys on the bench being happy too, I think that was really fun.”
Scott Hartnell also picked up a goal for Philadelphia but was focused more on his captain than his own efforts after the game.
“Claude played a great game. He seemed like he had the puck on his stick the whole night. He had the breakaway, the one-timer right afterward. … It was almost getting funny on the bench there that he hadn’t got one yet. [On the goal he] made a great move,” Hartnell said, “That’s the old [Giroux] that we know and everyone has learned to love. I think he’s back now. He feels great with the puck and we have to keep that thing rolling.”
The issue now will be whether the Flyers can build off this win despite it coming against the Edmonton Oilers who have problems of their own. Philadelphia had not scored on home ice this month and the frustration within the locker room has been palpable. But that same frustration has been spreading to the arena as well and the fans have been voicing discontent.
The win may also assuage some of the anxiety of team owner Ed Snyder who has been deeply disappointed in the effort on the ice.
Wins are critical even though the season has not yet reached the quarter pole and this one can provide a springboard to the rest of the season.
All images by Lewis Bleiman