The last time that the Chicago Blackhawks played on Philadelphia ice, they did it hoisting aloft the Stanley Cup in June of 2010.
The two teams met late last January, too - when the Flyers readily beat the Blackhawks 4-1 at the United Center. At the time, Chicago had turned over half its roster in the post-Cup win salary cap purge, and the team was struggling to find its footing; they've come a long way since then.
This year, the Flyers know what the Blackhawks went through - they, too, turned over a great deal of their roster this summer following another disappointing year in the playoffs, and were thoroughly rebuilt. When the Blackhawks and Flyers drop the puc...
As Claude Giroux’s beautiful backhanded flip went over the shoulder of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Philadelphia’s Winter Classic seemed like it would be a total success. The Flyers had taken a 2-0 lead on Giroux’s team-high 18th goal in front of their home fans. In Citizens Bank Park, the majority of almost 47,000 people were ecstatic.
With just 5:39 remaining in the second period, the Flyers were in the driver’s seat to victory.
Instead, they let the Rangers sit behind the wheel for the last 35 minutes en route to a 3-2 New York victory.
Mike Rupp scored his second goal of the season just 30 seconds after Giroux’s pretty tally which brought New York within a goal after two periods. A little under three minutes into the third period, Rupp doubled his season goal total and tied the game at 2-2.
Claude Giroux is a bona fide star and he has the numbers and the highlights to prove it.
But his contributions to the Flyers go much further than his stick handling, tight passing and dazzling goals.
When the Flyers traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter over the summer, the expectations for Giroux grew exponentially. With an NHL-leading 43 points in 30 games, it’s safe to say that Giroux has not only risen to the challenge, but has far exceeded it.
Giroux excels on the ice no matter the circumstance. He is a brilliant playmaker, a calculated goal-scorer, and his smarts and flexibility help him on defense when the situation calls for it.
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.