Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Giroux leads thunderous comeback

Claude Giroux skated, facing his own net, toward the goal line before turning to fire what would have been a safe icing had it not landed directly on the stick of Washington's Marcus Johansson.

Giroux leads thunderous comeback

Claude Giroux skated, facing his own net, toward the goal line before turning to fire what would have been a safe icing had it not landed directly on the stick of Washington's Marcus Johansson.

Understanding the gravity of his mistake, Giroux fell to the ice in disgust, completely separated from his stick with his face buried in his palms. Johansson had broken a 2-2 tie to give Washington and 3-2 lead.

And the Capitals weren't done. Alex Ovechkin scored 26 seconds later, to complete what appeared to be a full and thorough unraveling for the Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov responded by throwing his water bottle toward the Flyers' bench in anger.

But Giroux wasn't finished. He didn't sit and sulk.

Perhaps his best show of leadership this season, he picked the Flyers up and carried them to an improbable, maybe even season-saving comeback. It ended with Ruslan Fedotenko's overtime winner just 1:34 into the extra period, delivering a 5-4 win and a standings-shifting weekend.

The magnitude of the win could not be overstated.

The Flyers replaced Washington for 11th place in the Eastern Conference. They are now two points back of eighth place and a playoff spot with 14 games to play - controlling their own destiny with dates remaining against every team they’re chasing (Rangers, Islanders and Hurricanes).

The alternative would have been disastrous. The Flyers would have awoken on Monday morning in 14th place, with their regulation loss to Washington keeping them four points back with six teams to leap over. Their momentum gained against Boston on Sunday was not lost.

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