DALLAS - Claude Giroux didn't rule out the possibility of returning to the lineup Wednesday night in Dallas.
The Flyers' star center has been sidelined with a concussion since Dec. 10 and has missed the last four games.
Speaking to reporters after Tuesday's practice at the American Airlines Center, Giroux said that he continued to improve, and that "if it keeps feeling better and better," he would probably be in the lineup "pretty soon."
As soon as Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars?
"Maybe," he said.
On Twitter, some fans were calling Giroux's quick recovery a "Christmas miracle."
Giroux had contact for the first time Tuesday since returning to practice Sunday. He battled defenseman Braydon Coburn at one point. "I went in the corners with Coby and told him to hit me a little bit," he said with a smile.
"It was good to see him banging out there today," coach Peter Laviolette said.
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Giroux - who has practiced for three straight days - has been cleared to play and is officially listed as day-to-day. Holmgren said he was cleared Saturday.
Laviolette wouldn't comment on whether Giroux would play Wednesday.
"These decisions are far beyond me," he said, adding that Holmgren, trainer Jim McCrossin, and doctors would decide if he was ready.
But Holmgren's statement later in the day seemed to confirm he was ready. Now.
Provided, of course, he is in game shape.
Laviolette said Giroux "looks really good. Better than a lot" of players.
Entering Tuesday, Giroux was tied for the NHL lead with Toronto's Phil Kessel and Vancouver's Henrik Sedin with 39 points.
Shootout woes. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all three Colorado players to score in the shootout on Tuesday as the Flyers lost, 3-2, and had their five-game road winning streak snapped.
The Flyers are 0-2 in shootouts this season - Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two goals on three shots in their loss to New Jersey - and 19-36 in franchise history.
"We work on it [in practice], but it hasn't gone our way in shootouts," Laviolette said.
After Monday's loss, Bryzgalov said, "I hate shootouts."
"That's his opinion; it's not something I'm going to talk to him about," goalie coach Jeff Reese said. "He's very good at it. You should see him in practice when we do breakaways. They put three pretty good moves on him [Monday]. "
It was Bryzgalov's first shootout of the season. He was 4-5 with a .656 save percentage in shootouts (11 goals in 32 shots) with Phoenix last season.
Colorado is 6-0 in shootouts this year.
"The thing that bothers me about shootouts is that the goaltender can go in there and have a pretty good game - like he did [Monday] night - and everybody forgets about it because of the three penalty shots," Reese said. "That's why I disagree with the shootout."
Breakaways. Defenseman Andreas Lilja was taken off the long-term injured-reserve list and is eligible to play Wednesday. . . . Holmgren upgraded center Sean Couturier (head injury) to day to day. . . . The Flyers have about $2.2 million in cap space. . . . Jaromir Jagr would have been in Monday's shootout rotation if it had gone longer, Laviolette said. Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk scored in the shootout, and Matt Read fired a shot off the crossbar. "I haven't taken a penalty shot in the last six years," Jagr said. . . . Jagr and Jakub Voracek paid homage Monday to Vaclav Havel, the former Czech Republic president who died a few days ago. Jagr and Voracek wore his initials on their helmets.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at email@example.com or @BroadStBull on Twitter.