Claude Giroux didn’t like the way he was playing, so the Philadelphia captain called himself out. And he responded in a big way.
Two days after saying he needed to “step up and bring more for the team,” Giroux had a goal and two assists to help the Flyers to a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
“When it’s not going your way, you have to challenge yourself,” Giroux said.
Giroux had been pointless in two of his previous three contests. Philadelphia survived his turnover in overtime Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory over Carolina when Brian Elliott made a spectacular stick save. That came one game after another Giroux turnover cost the Flyers a goal in a 4-3 shootout home loss to Ottawa.
Giroux bounced back with his fifth three-point game of the season.
“He’s pretty hard on himself, maybe overly so, but he felt like he could play better and he did that,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “He expects a lot of his teammates, but he puts himself at the head of the line.”
Travis Konecny scored twice, Jakub Voracek and Ivan Provorov also scored, and Shayne Gostisbehere had three assists. The Flyers kept their hold on a playoff spot in a crowded race in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia entered in seventh place, but just one point ahead of Columbus and the New York Islanders, and only four in front of 10th-placed Carolina.
Brian Elliott made 25 saves in his second game back from a lower body injury after missing four games.
“Keep packing on two points and we’ll put ourselves in a good spot,” Elliott said.
Logan Shaw, Artturi Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal.
The game ended a historic day in Philadelphia that featured the victory parade for the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship. The Flyers congratulated the Eagles on the video board and played highlights from the parade to the delight of the crowd, which unleashed a loud “E-A-G-L-E-S! E-A-G-L-E-S!” chant.
Hakstol watched some of the parade festivities on television.
“It’s hard not to be excited,” he said. “It’s pretty inspirational for the entire city. What an awesome sight. Their organization did such a good job from top to bottom the entire year. That’s their just rewards.”
The parade also altered both teams’ normal routines. The Flyers held their morning skate at their practice facility in Voorhees, New Jersey rather than on their home ice in Philadelphia. They also had players who live in Philadelphia stay at a hotel in South Jersey on Wednesday night to ensure they could make the morning skate.
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The Canadiens switched hotels from their normal spot in downtown Philadelphia to a place near the airport to avoid the crowds while also cancelling their morning skate.
Montreal could’ve used the extra work to practice its penalty kill.
“Those penalties hurt,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “Their power play was going good and our penalty kill wasn’t good enough.”
Voracek broke a 2-all tie and made amends for an earlier turnover that led to a Canadiens goal 27 seconds into the third period when he roofed a wrist shot over Carey Price’s left shoulder for Philadelphia’s second power play goal of the contest.
Konecny made it a two-goal advantage 1:01 later when he pounced on a rebound after Gostisbehere’s shot from the point trickled out of the grasp of Price. It was his 13th tally of the season and seventh in the last 10 contests.
Gallagher’s power play goal with 2:54 left brought Montreal within a goal.
Provorov iced the win with an empty-netter with 55.9 seconds remaining.
The teams each scored a pair of goals in the second period.
Konecny opened the scoring by finishing a great passing play 42 seconds into the period.
Lehkonen stripped Voracek near centre ice and whizzed a shot past Brian Elliott’s glove side with 10:51 left in the second. It was the ninth short-handed goal the Flyers have allowed this season.
Philadelphia answered 28 seconds later on the power play when Giroux’s wrist shot got through traffic and past Price.
Shaw sent the teams into the final period tied at 2 when his wrister went off Elliott and in with 1:11 left.
The Flyers lost all four contests without their top goalie, who got an assist on Provorov’s tally.