That meant someone had to pick it up, and it was Giroux, probably the club's most skilled player.
Giroux scored two goals, one on a power play, and assisted on the other, by Briere. He did it with a blend of pizzazz and power. And by doing so, he continued his budding reputation as a big-game player.
"Nobody can replace Jeff Carter," said Giroux, a 5-foot-11 winger whose four playoff goals lead the Flyers. "It was just fun to be a part of it."
Giroux has the skills to make it fun for his linemates, as well. It takes remarkable instinct and hands to feed a teammate skating at full bore with a spin-around pass, which is how he set up Briere's goal just 3 minutes, 16 seconds after the opening face-off.
"For some reason, me and Claude seem to have that chemistry where we find each other," Briere said. "We know where we're going to be on the ice. We think alike. . . .
"He's a player who's fun to play with. You have to be ready because the puck can come to you at any time."
Midway through the second period, Giroux cranked a shot past Devils goalie Martin Brodeur that went in and out of the net so quickly the officials decided on a video review.
Two minutes later, Giroux shoveled more dirt on the Devils when he jammed in a rebound of a Briere shot. In all, Giroux, Briere and captain Mike Richards, a line that coach Peter Laviolette formed after losing Carter and Gagne, had seven of the Flyers' eight points.
"Once again, big plays from him," Briere said. "That first goal, and then his shot top-shelf. You don't teach that, or even the spin-around pass backdoor on the first goal. He's been clutch. He's a guy we've come to rely on."
When he's on top of his game, Giroux contributes in ways that don't show on the score sheet. He's not reluctant to go into the corners, and he sees time on the penalty-killing unit.
"Youthful enthusiasm, first and foremost," defenseman Chris Pronger said when asked what Giroux gives the club. "He's a very skilled guy who plays hard and tough for his size - crashing and banging and doing the little things out there. He's certainly stepped up here in the playoffs."
This is Giroux's second season with the Flyers. He had 16 goals and 31 assists and was minus-9 on the plus-minus scale. His sophomore season was considered somewhat disappointing, which speaks to the enormous expectations the Flyers have placed on him since they made him a first-round draft pick, No. 22 overall, in 2006.
So far, though, he has shown he's at his best when the lights are brightest, when whatever happened during the regular season doesn't seem to matter.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or email@example.com.