With the Winter Classic right around the corner, the Philadelphia Flyers (21-8-4) received a big boost Wednesday night in Dallas when Claude Giroux returned to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion.
His presence in the lineup is a must and tonight will be a huge test for him and the Flyers as they head to New York to take on the New York Rangers (20-8-4).
In their last match up in New York, a 2-0 loss, Zac Rinaldo and Brandon Prust dropped the gloves four seconds into the game. With the HBO cameras trailing these teams like the paparazzi, it is only natural for the players to want to put on a show.
There is no reason to think tonight will be any different.
As the Winter Classic alumni game grows nearer, fans in Philadelphia anxiously await.
Bobby Clarke and Eric Lindros will play on the same ice. Bernie Parent will be between the pipes. Mark Howe will skate on the blue line.
The excitement to see all the greats in orange and black has even overshadowed the actual game for some.
One of the participants feels the same way.
Brian Propp, who was drafted by the Flyers in 1979 and played 790 games for Philadelphia over 10 years, can’t wait for puck to drop.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Propp said. “You look at the players who are going to be involved, it’s a tremendous amount of great hockey players. I think that the competition will get a little intense; I’m looking forward to it.”
When the announcement of the alumni game was made, there were plenty of questions about who would be included on the team. One name that was a shoe-in from the start was Propp’s.
The Islanders are heading into the Big Apple to face their archrivals, the New York Rangers. Coming off back-to-back shootout wins (courtesy of Frans Neilsen and his patented forehand-backhand-top shelf move), the young Isles team is carrying a bit of momentum into the World’s Greatest Arena. They are playing with more confidence and finding ways to win hockey games.
This is a good thing. Because they will need every ounce of momentum, confidence, skill, (and maybe even a little luck) to leave Madison Square Garden with 2 points against the Rangers in tonight’s contest.
The Rangers (with 3 games in hand) are currently tied for 2nd in the Atlantic Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they each have managed 42 points so far this season.
After the Philadelphia Flyers practiced in Dallas Tuesday, the revelation that Claude Giroux may be close to returning surfaced.
How close? Possibly Wednesday for the team's contest against the Dallas Stars.
There's no way of knowing if Giroux's return will be too soon for the young star's health. What is known is that he's the most important player on this year's team. He's been fantastic in every aspect of the game.
Giroux is the difference between a good team and a possibly great team. When the rubber hits the road for the Flyers, one player can extend himself to the point of being able to shoulder the load.
He can elevate the team's play with one pass, one shift, one shot. He does what superstars are expected to do, and he does it well.
With his return looming, the question of his readiness will surely be questioned, as well it should be.
The Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice in Denver Monday night seeking another win streak after Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing by the Boston Bruins. Instead, they snuck out of the Pepsi Center with a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Philadelphia (20-8-4) struck first when Scott Hartnell scored with 1:29 remaining in the first period. On the power play goal, Jaromir Jagr saved the puck from leaving the offensive zone and quickly fired it near the net. Jakub Voracek, who has played spectacularly lately, shuffled a pass across the goal-mouth for Hartnell.
The tally was Hartnell’s 16th goal of the season, tying him with Claude Giroux as the highest goal scorer on the Flyers this season. It was also his seventh power play goal on the year.
Colorado (16-17-1) took the game’s momentum in the second period with strong contributions from their young core.
After losing for the first time in the month of December, the injury-depleted Philadelphia Flyers (20-8-3) will kick-off a five game road trip tonight in Denver when they face the Colorado Avalanche (15-17-1) in their only meeting of the season.
The Flyers had their seven game unbeaten streak come to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon (6-0) by the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.
Tonight they will try to stay unbeaten on the road in December, and will do so with yet another new young player in the line-up.
With many beginning to question whether the Flyers will be able to remain competitive without the aide of their best players, it has become crucial for the team to prove that the sum is more important than their parts.
However, it is also important that individual role players step up and help carry the load.
On Thursday night, Max Talbot was one of those players.