Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rangers Tie Game With 12 Seconds Left, Win It in Overtime

Down 2-1 with the goalie pulled, the New York Rangers scored the equalizer with 12 seconds remaining in the game. The Rangers then scored twice in the shootout to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 today. 

Keith Yandle blasted a shot from the point that snuck through traffic and beat Steve Mason knotting the game up two apiece with just 12 seconds left in the third period forcing overtime. 

After the three on three didn't obtain a victor, a shootout was necessary. In the shootout, Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan both scored for the Rangers while Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux failed to do so. 

Philadelphia led for much of the hockey game this afternoon thanks to a dominating second period that saw the Flyers outshoot the Rangers 20-7. One of those shots came from Shayne Gostisbehere on the PowerPlay. His wrister from the point snuck through Henrik Lundqvist's pads giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 7:16 mark of the second. The goal extended Ghost's point streak to seven games where he has 10 points during that stretch. 

Chris Kreider tied the game up early in the third on a tip in goal; however, Ryan White responded just 2:30 minutes later from the circle on a feed from Gostisbehere and the lead was restored. 

That lead held until 12 seconds to go, when Michael Raffl failed to get close enough to Yandle to block the shot. As a result, the shot made it through cleanly and the Flyers walk away with just one point in the standings. 

Highlights:
• Wayne Simmonds was given a five minute match penalty and game misconduct for intent to injure after he threw a punch at Ryan McDonagh. Prior to the punch, McDonagh viciously cross checked Simmonds to the head. McDonagh was given a double minor for his offense; however, after taking the punch to the face, he left the game and did not return. The play will be up for review by the league for a potential suspension for Simmonds. 
• Jake Voracek picked up an assist on Gostisbehere's goal extending his point streak to six games. 
• Claude Giroux also picked up an assist on Gostisbehere's goal now giving him a four game streak. 
• The Rangers outshot the Flyers 13-1 in the third period and overtime. 
• Gostisbehere played a career high 23:01 minutes today. It was also his sixth multipoint game of the season. 
• Voracek logged a career high 27:59 minutes of ice time. 

Drop The Puck:
The Flyers get right back into action tomorrow afternoon when they face the league leading Washington Capitals. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Couturier Out a Month, Flyers Recall Cousins

Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced this afternoon that center Sean Couturier will miss approximately four weeks due to a lower body injury. 

Couturier sat out the entire third period against the Nashville Predators last night in which he appeared to re-aggravated his injury that sidelined him for three games last week. The Flyers are 2-6-1 without their shutdown second line center this season. Couturier has picked up 24 points in 40 games this season so far. 

As a result of the length of the injury, the Flyers choose to recall AHL All Star center Nick Cousins from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Cousins is currently sixth in the AHL in scoring with a team leading 38 points in 38 games and a plus minus rating of +13. 

Cousins, 22, is scoreless in 15 NHL games played, 11 in 2014-15 and four so far this season. 

Giroux, Simmonds Combine for Six Points in Flyers Win Over Predators

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds led the way tonight helping the Philadelphia Flyers score a season high in goals as they topped the Nashville Predators 6-3. 

The first line for the Flyers was dominant all night. Giroux, Simmonds and Jake Voracek combined for eight points tonight as well as a plus 8. Giroux and Simmonds both registered two goals and an assist while Voracek collected two assists. 

Simmonds' first goal came in the second period when Scott Laughton sprung him on a breakaway. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stopped Simmonds' initial attempt; however, he scooped up the rebound and beat Rinne the second time around giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead. The Wayne Train's next goal came on the PowerPlay in the third period when he tipped in Shayne Gostisbehere's shot from the point putting the Flyers up 5-3. Simmonds is currently riding a five game point streak in which he has registered nine points. 

Claude Giroux's first goal in the second period ultimately turned out to be the game winner, yet put the Flyers up 4-1 at the time. Giroux ripped a one-timer set up by Voracek on a three on two rush up the ice. The captain's second tally in the third came on almost the exact same one-timer, set up again by Voracek on the other end of the ice. Giroux now has six points in his last three games and 13 over his last nine. 

Philadelphia came out strong tonight scoring two goals in the opening period for the third straight game and fourth time in their last five. Matt Read scored the opener on a breakaway for his 9th while Brayden Schenn extended his personal point streak to six games and goal streak to three after receiving a Sean Couturier set up. Couturier left the game and did not come out for the third period.  GM Ron Hextall said the center will be evaluated tomorrow. Couturier missed three games last week due to a lower body injury. 

Nashville beat Steve Mason twice in the second on goals from Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok, yet with Simmonds and Giroux's goals, the Flyers carried their two goal lead into the third, 4-2. 

Hardest shot winner Shea Weber cut the Flyers lead to one momentarily on a blast on the PowerPlay in third but less than two minutes later, Simmonds restored the two goal lead. 70 seconds after Simmonds tally, Giroux extended the lead to three, this time for good. 

The Flyers are now four points behind the NJ Devils for the final playoff spot with three games in hand. 

Highlights:
• Four different Flyers extended their point streaks today. Voracek, Simmonds and Schenn's streak is at five while Gostisbehere's streak was extended to six games. 
• Scott Laughton picked up two assists tonight. It was the young center's first multiple assist night and second career two point game. 
• Philadelphia scored six goals on 19 shots. It was their highest goal total of the season and highest since March 14th when the Flyers beat the Red Wings 7-2. 
• Steve Mason made 37 saves on 40 shots tonight. 
• Flyers went 1-3 on the PowerPlay. They have scored a PowerPlay goal in six straight games. 
• The Flyers penalty kill went 6-7. 

Drop The Puck:
The Flyers host the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Simmonds Nets Two, Flyers Beat Canadiens

Wayne Simmonds scored his second of the game halfway into the third period which ultimately became the game winning goal as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 tonight. 

After Jake Voracek made a perfect set up from the side of the net to Simmonds in the slot, the Flyers led 3-2. It was Voracek's third assist and Simmonds second of the night. Just minutes later, Radko Gudas was called on a five minute major penalty for clipping. The Flyers penalty kill did a terrific job killing the entire PowerPlay off plus another minute and a half when the Canadiens pulled their goalie. Matt Read iced the game with his empty net goal with 43 seconds remaining. 

Philadelphia entered the All Star break on a high after beating the league's top team, the Washington Capitals. They picked up right where they left off tonight scoring twice in the first period while taking a lead into the second for just the seventh time all season. 

Both Flyers goals in the first came on the PowerPlay, which has been on fire of late. Philadelphia has scored a PowerPlay goal in five straight games and are eight for 22 during that span. They were two for four tonight. Simmonds scored the first following a nice tic tac toe play from Voracek and Brayden Schenn. Schenn then became the recipient of another great Voracek feed giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead early. 

Montreal responded scoring a PowerPlay goal of their own late in the first. Andre Markov beat Steve Mason from an almost impossible angle at the goal line after the puck bounced off the back boards right to him. Jeff Petry tied the game at two early in the second period from the top of the circle for his fifth of the season. 

Steve Mason returned from missing the last couple of games from an injury but did not miss a beat. Mason stopped 30 shots on 32 attempts on his way to his 11th win of the season. 

Highlights:
• Shayne Gostisbehere registered an assist on Braydon Schenn's goal extending his point streak to five games. 
• RJ Umberger was a healthy scratch for the first time all season. 
• Sean Couturier returned to action after missing three games from a lower body injury. 
• Michal Neuvirth sat out with a lower body injury. It was announced earlier today that Neuvirth will miss seven to 10 days. As a result the Flyers recalled Anthony Stolarz fresh off his AHL All Star appearance. 
• Wayne Simmonds took a game high eight shots on goal. The Flyers outshot the Canadiens 36-32. 

Quotes:
• Claude Giroux:
"It was a really emotional game. The fans loved it, but at the end of the day we did a good job in the third to get it done. 
There was no panic and we got it done." 

• Wayne Simmonds:
"Tonight we started off really well. We had a little bit of a lull but we stayed strong and kept our composure."

• Steve Mason:
"Huge kill at a huge point in the game. Everyone did an extremely great job. That's a penalty kill we need to have more often."

Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they face the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Claude Giroux to Represent the Flyers in the 2016 NHL ALL STAR Game

Giroux answering questions at media day
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux was selected to participate in the 2016 NHL All Star game in Nashville TN this weekend. Giroux will represent the Flyers in his fourth career All Star game which will take place on Sunday, January 31st. Giroux will play for the Metropolitan division in the newly formatted three on three mini tournament. The two divisions in the East will face each other, while both divisions in the West will do the same in two, 20 minute three on three games. The two winners will play another 20 minute three on three game for the All Star championship. The winning team will split $1 million.

Claude Giroux will also take part in the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday. It was announced earlier today that Giroux will participate in the NHL Accuracy Shooting Competition, the Stick Handling portion of the NHL Skills Challenge Relay, as well as the Discover NHL Shootout in Round 3.

According to NHL.com, The NHL Accuracy Shooting is described as ...
"Four shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins. The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point."

The NHL Skill Challenge Relay ...
"This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and two goalies from each team – will consist of four relays with five challenges each: One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team."
Giroux will be apart of the Puck Control for the Metropolitan division. 

And finally, the last activity Giroux will participate in is the Discover NHL Shootout ...
"18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players, each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt."

For more information visit the NHL website below:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/m_news.htm?id=799496
 
To see how Giroux became the star he is today for the Philadelphia Flyers, check out my biography of Claude Giroux below...

Claude Giroux: A Rising Star

The Flyers revamped their team during the 2011 off-season, focusing on putting all the onus on their young superstar Claude Giroux. In 77 games in the 2011-12 season, Claude had a career year scoring 28 goals and 65 assists for a total of 93 points, all career highs, still. He finished 3rd in the NHL for most points.

After leading the Flyers to the 2012 playoffs, Claude dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round amassing 14 points (1 shy of the franchise record set by Tim Kerr in 1989). When asked about his performance, teammate and good friend Danny Briere said, "He was possessed!"
Giroux buries Crosby
Unfortunately the Flyers were eliminated in the second round by the New Jersey Devils. Giroux ended the playoffs tied for the lead in goals with 8 and 4th in points with 17, despite playing 10+ fewer games than the leaders.

On January 15th, 2013, only days away from the start of the shortened season, the Flyers named Claude Giroux their new captain, replacing the injured Chris Pronger (concussion like symptoms). Giroux became the 19th captain in Flyers history (and 5th youngest). Since then, Giroux has compiled 246 points in 258 games (as of January 29th, 2016).

How did it all start for Claude Giroux?

Claude Growing up in Hearst
Claude Giroux, at the age of 17, was the star of the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), who he played between 2005 and 2008. Giroux played in 197 games, scoring 125 goals and 196 assists for 321 points. He also played 41 playoff games scoring 24 goals and 54 assists for 78 points.

But all this didn't come this easily for Claude. Giroux wanted to play for the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), nearest to his home in Heart Ontario, but he was never drafted. To be drafted by the Canadian Junior Hockey League, a player must have an impressive Bantam and Midget career.

Claude playing for the QMJHL
When Claude was 13 years old, in 2001, he played for his hometown Bantam hockey team, the Hearst Lumber Kings, part of the NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association). Hearst, a small French-speaking community located in Northern Ontario, Canada, is where Claude was born and grew up with his sister, Isabel, and his parents, Raymond and Nicole.

At the age of 15, Claude's family moved to the nation's capital, Ottawa. That didn't stop Claude from playing his beloved sport. In 2002-2003, he played Major Bantam hockey for the Cumberland Barons and in 2003-4, Claude moved up to Minor Midget AA for the same club. In 39 games with the Barons, Claude registered a very impressive 31 goals and 28 assists for 59 points. The following season, he advanced to Junior A ice hockey (part of the Central Canadian Hockey League) playing for the Cumberland Grads.

Giroux training at 17 before being drafted in the NHL

BĂ©atrice-Desloges High School Grad
This would be his final season leading up to the Canadian Junior draft, a season he would need to impress. But this would be the year that Claude would be slowed down by Mononucleosis, a viral disease that causes fever, sore throat and fatigue. This caused him to play in only 48 of the 62 games on the schedule. Still Giroux accumulated 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in those 48 games.

Claude with his IIHF gold medal
This, however, ultimately led to Claude Giroux being snubbed by every team in the OHL and thus he failed to be drafted in 2005. But that paved the way for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL to invite Claude to their training camp. There he made the team and had three outstanding seasons with the club.

Giroux played so well for Gatineau that in 2008 he was invited to represent Junior Team Canada in the IIHF's  (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Junior Hockey Championship (Under 20) tournament. Playing for Team Canada, he scored two goals and four assists in eight games helping his nation win their 14th gold medal in the event.
Claude drafted by Philadelphia in 2006

In 2008, along with his IIHF gold medal, Giroux also went on to win the President Cup for the QMJHL Champion scoring 17 goals and 51 points in just 19 games. He was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy for MVP of the playoffs.

Two years prior, Claude Giroux entered the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, where he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1st round (22nd overall).

Giroux started his professional career with the AHL's (American Hockey League) Philadelphia Phantoms. But he did not last there too long as the Flyers called him up to the big club on December 26th, 2008. His shortened AHL season lasted only 33 games, where he scored 17 goals and 17 assists. He would play the remaining 42 games with the NHL scoring 9 goals and 18 assists.

2010 Playoff Beard
Claude played his first full NHL season in 2009 but had somewhat disappointing stats (16 goals, 31assists in 82 games played), as the Flyers were hoping that he would blossom. And blossom he did, as soon as the playoffs began. Giroux would help the Flyers make it to the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago scoring 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in 23 playoff games. His biggest goal came in overtime of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago tying the series up at two games apiece.

The following season, 2010-11, saw Giroux take off registering career numbers: 25 goals and 51 assists for 76 points in 82 games. Due to his outstanding play, Giroux was selected to participate in his first NHL All Star game. Claude suited up along side teammate and housemate Danny Briere and registered a goal and an assist in the game.

Danny and Claude at the 2011 All Star Game
Briere and Giroux became very close as the season went on. Briere has three children, Caelan, Carson and Cameron, and after going through a  rough period in his life (Briere divorced his wife of 13 years), he asked Claude, if he wanted to stay at his house in Haddonfield with Danny and his three children. Giroux agreed and they become like a family. Danny, 33, at the time, was like an older brother to Claude, 23, who was like an older brother to Danny's children were were 9, 11, and 12 at the time.

Briere and Giroux living together

During the 2011 off-season, the Flyers traded their cornerstones, captain Mike Richards and alternate captain Jeff Carter. One of the reasons why these trades were possible was because of the emergence of Claude Giroux. The Flyers expected big things from their young superstar, and so far, Giroux, or the man they simply call 'G', has succeeded those expectations averaging over a point per game from 2011 to 2015.

Claude at the 2012 Winter Classic
On January 2nd, 2012 the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the New York Rangers at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia for the NHL's annual Winter Classic. Claude, who jokingly asked New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist if he could score just one goal (as seen on HBO's 24/7 documentary), did just that, scoring the Flyers second goal of the game.

On January 29th, 2012, Claude was selected to participate in his second consecutive All Star game where he joined teammates Scottie Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. Giroux was able to score his second career All Star goal after receiving a nice pass from teammate and buddy, Hartnell.
Hartnell, Timonen and Giroux at the 2012 All Star Game
As of January 29th, 2016, Giroux has been elected to four All Star games, including the one he will participate in this weekend.
Giroux with teammate Jake Voracek at the 2015 NHL All Star game
In the years that followed, Giroux has become a great leader on and off the ice. On the ice, Giroux has proven to be one of the best talents in the National Hockey League. Since the 2010-11 season, no player has more points than Claude Giroux. And when all the chips are down when it all matters the most, in the playoffs Giroux has 61 points in 57 games for the Flyers.

Giroux walks CTV through his favorite spots in Ottawa
Claude at his CCG

Claude Giroux isn't just a superstar on the ice. In 2010, Giroux partnered up with the Hearst Notre-Dame Hospital Foundation to create the Claude-Giroux Centre for Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation. Nancy Girard, coordinator of the department of physiotherapy said, "It's a dream come true for the physiotherapy department!" 
Claude at Flyers Charity Golf Outing



"This wonderful project will improve the quality of care for our community and will open doors to a possible diversification of services offered, always to improve the quality of life in Hearst and the region,"  Girard continued.

The 28 year old captain, center, number 28, G, Claude Giroux, superstar for the Philadelphia Flyers, is a winner on and off the ice.
Claude smiling at Winter Classic family skate

(Thanks to CTV for the video, xkaren08, ClaudeGiroux28.com, the Philadelphia Flyers, Nike, the NHL, AHL, OHL, QMJHL, IIHF, CCHL, NOHA, & to the Claude Giroux Centre.)