For Flyers center Claude Giroux, less is more.
That is, less time on the ice means more production.
And more victories.
In the last three seasons, the Flyers are 49-23-3 when Giroux plays under 21 minutes per game, according to stats provided by the team. They are just 39-41-12 when he plays 21 minutes or more.
“So you’re saying the less time I’m on the ice, the better it is?” Giroux asked.
More numbers: In the 92 games that Giroux has played 21 minutes or more, he has 24 goals, 55 assists and 79 points _ an average of .86 points per game.
In the 75 games in which he has played under 21 minutes, Giroux has 29 goals, 71 assists and 100 points _ an average of 1.33 points per game.
“Obviously when you have your legs under you, I think it’s easier to get to the puck,” said Giroux, trying to analyze the numbers on the fly. “When you’re tired…you can have mental breakdowns. I don’t know what to say. The stats don’t lie, I guess.”
Coach Craig Berube downplayed the Flyers’ record when Giroux plays increased minutes.
“I think when you look at it, when he plays over 20 minutes, we might be losing the game,” he said.
In other words, when the Flyers are behind, Berube tries to get Giroux more ice time.
“In general, I try to keep my forwards under 20 (minutes),” Berube said, “but with the power play and stuff like that, it’s hard sometimes.”
Still, it is interesting that Giroux _ who is averaging 21:15 per game this season _ is a lot more effective when he gets less time.
Is there a certain number of minutes that Giroux feels is ideal for him?
“Some games I can play 25 minutes and I feel like I’m fresh and could have played more,” he said. “And some games, I play 17 and I feel like I’ve played 35. It all depends on the game and the situation. When we have more power plays, you don’t have to battle as much as five-on-five. I think it’s more open ice, more controlled play, more of a thinking game.”
Giroux said playing lots of penalty-killing minutes is only straining if you lose a lot of faceoffs and are stuck in your end. If not, it’s not that taxing, he said.
On Tuesday, Giroux and the Flyers will finish their six-game road trip in New Jersey. Giroux is hoping linemate Michael Raffl, sidelined Saturday night against Phoenix because of a concussion, can return to the lineup.
Raffl skated Saturday morning and said he felt fine.
“We have a chemistry going,” Giroux said. “He’s a good skater and he wins a lot of battles. That’s why I like playing with him a lot. He gets those loose pucks and gets pucks that you’re not supposed to get.”
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.