Claude Giroux leads by example as Flyers rout Islanders

ASSOCIATED PRESS Claude Giroux stuffs a shot past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the opening minute of the Flyers' 7-0 victory. Giroux added a goal in the second period.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Claude Giroux stuffs a shot past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the opening minute of the Flyers' 7-0 victory. Giroux added a goal in the second period.
Posted: February 19, 2013

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The door to the visitors locker room deep inside the Montreal Bell Centre remained closed a little longer than usual on Saturday night.

Newly minted captain Claude Giroux didn't need long to deliver his message to teammates after the Flyers' unenergetic display against the Canadiens.

"It wasn't very long," Danny Briere said. "But it was to the point. Everybody took it personally. That was the goal."

Words are one thing. Sometimes, though, the best message isn't spoken, but shown. Giroux' on-ice example could not be confused Monday afternoon on Long Island.

In 26 seconds, Giroux won the opening puck drop, pickpocketed an Islander, and planted a perfectly placed shot over Evgeni Nabokov's shoulder.

"When he says something, he does something," Jake Voracek said. "That's why he's a leader, that's why he's a winner. He could have won the game by himself."

The only thing missing from a replica of "The Shift" last spring against the Penguins was a thundering body check of Sidney Crosby. Giroux can get that on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

"It's the way he takes care of it by himself to start the game," Briere said. "You have no other choice but to follow suit."

Briere followed with two goals of his own and Giroux' new-look line, with Matt Read and Voracek, exploded for 10 points in the Flyers' 7-0 railroading of the Islanders. The rout snapped a two-game losing skid, giving the Flyers a chance to turn a skid into a streak with Wednesday's final game of a seasonlong, six-game road swing.

"As a team, we weren't satisfied how we showed up every game and how we played," Giroux said after scoring two goals. "It was unacceptable, no intensity, no will to pay the price to win the game. Everyone today was paying the price to win. It's a lot more fun to play that way."

The way the Flyers played, they beat the Islanders in just about every category. It was a complete change of pace from Montreal and some of their listless performances of the recent past. They treated Nabokov's crease like the line at Old Country Buffet - pounding it hard early and often - and were first in nearly every puck battle.

"It's not just the 7-0, but it's how we played," Giroux said. "We were physical. We played good defensively, and we had a lot of chances offensively. That's how we've got to play. A full 60 minutes, we didn't let down."

Sometimes, a trip to Nassau Mausoleum is a cure for whatever is ailing the Flyers. They are 28-3-1 overall against the Islanders since 2007, and an impeccable 28-6-1 in the NHL's second-oldest arena since 1999.

It was an important turnaround for both the Flyers and their struggling superstar. Giroux now has 25 points in 22 career games against the Islanders.

After leading the team with 93 points last season, Giroux has been eerily quiet in most games this season. Monday marked only his fourth multipoint game of the season. He had 26 last season, or about one every three games. So far this season, he's on pace for worse than one in every four.

"It was a complete game today for 60 minutes," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It started on the first shift, ended with the final horn. It was a really strong effort by the group. You'd like to bottle it up and bring it right to Pittsburgh."

The Flyers might not be able to bottle that effort from Giroux - security is a tad strict about liquids on flights these days - but his hope is that his message to his teammates sinks in. Even though the Flyers should have a deed to the Islanders' sorry franchise, they entered Monday's game with one edge: closer to a playoff berth.

"It's not about the message," Giroux said. "It's about the whole team being on the same page, the same plan. We can't be looking at the big picture right now. We know we're not in the playoffs right now."

Slap shots

The Flyers have scored seven goals in the first minute of a period, including their first- and second-period tallies from Claude Giroux and Matt Read Monday . . . Giroux still does not have a regular-season career hat trick . . . Make that 11 of the Flyers' 15 points that have come against teams in the East that do not run the "overloading" defensive system . . . The Flyers are off Tuesday in Pittsburgh . . . If you remove the two blowout wins (Florida, 7-1; Isles, 7-0), they've scored only 31 goals in 15 games (2.07 per game) . . . Two of Zac Rinaldo's three career goals have come on Long Island.

On Twitter: @DNFlyers


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