Afterward, Giroux's assist had Gagne flashing back a few years, when he played on a line with Peter Forsberg, who was one of the great playmakers in the history of the game.
"He's got the same skill, the same passion with the puck," Gagne said. "He's very patient with the puck. They've got that touch - for whatever reason, they're going to find you."
For the 21-year-old Giroux, yesterday was one of redemption for getting nailed with a slashing penalty in overtime of the Penguins' 3-2 win in Game 2 on Friday night in Pittsburgh. The infraction soon left the Flyers two skaters short, and Pittsburgh cashed in to get a grip on the series.
Earlier in the second period yesterday, Giroux broke a 2-2 tie by converting a pass from Danny Briere for his first goal in an NHL playoff game. In the first period, Giroux got the juices flowing by getting into a scrum with Tyler Kennedy, picking up a double minor for elbowing and roughing.
On the flight back from Pittsburgh, Flyers coach John Stevens, sensing Giroux was down about his gaffe, sidled up to the kid and told him to forget about it, told him stuff happens to players regardless of how hard they play.
"I was a little mad at myself for taking that penalty, and he came to me and said, 'Don't worry about it, you have to bounce back,' " Giroux said. "It gave me a little more confidence, and I was able to put that behind me faster."
One of Stevens' strengths as a coach is his ability to help young players navigate through the difficult early years. He saw that Giroux was among the better players for his team in that Friday night loss and wanted to make certain his costly penalty did not crush his spirit.
"We talked about it being a learning experience," Stevens said. "I think he felt really bad because he cares. He showed a lot of composure for a young player that age in a pretty intense environment."
Stevens seemed as impressed by Giroux's pass as anyone else in the loud arena.
"He's been known to have elite vision," Stevens said. "That pass to Gagne, I'm not sure there are many players who are capable of making a play like that. He just didn't throw it there blind. He hung on to it and Gags has great offensive instincts, and he threaded the needle and got it to the far post. It was really an unbelievable pass by a young player."
Asked about his first-period scrap with Kennedy, Giroux, whose hands are too valuable to ball them up in fists and throw punches, just shrugged.
"Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do," he said.
He did that, and then some, which is why the Flyers are back in the series.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or email@example.com.