Claude Giroux's struggles have drawn considerable attention. The Flyers captain hasn't scored a goal during the first four games of the opening Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers that is tied at two games apiece.
Ending the drought will quiet the critics. Coach Craig Berube thinks that Giroux has been affected by the criticism.
"I think he can be more patient," Berube said after practice Saturday and before the Flyers departed for New York and Game 5 at noon Sunday at Madison Square Garden. "I think [big scorers] can get themselves impatient, because it's all about you guys writing he is not scoring and not doing enough . . .."
To his credit, Giroux has shown patience in answering the same questions during this series. He finished third in the NHL with 86 points (28 goals, 58 assists) during the regular season.
"Obviously I want to score goals. Everybody wants to score goals," said Giroux, who has 21 goals and 36 assists for 57 points in 54 career playoff games. "The goal is to win the game and play smart, and I think we did that last game."
He was referring to the 2-1 win Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Throughout the series, Giroux's teammates have come to his defense about his lack of offense.
"When a guy finishes top three in the league in scoring, everybody keys on his scoring, and when he's not scoring they think he's doing nothing. But that is not the case with 'G,' " Wayne Simmonds said. "He is a 200-foot player who plays whether he has the puck or doesn't have the puck."
The statistics back that assessment.
Giroux is the leader in the series in faceoff percentage, winning 60.3 percent of his draws. He has two assists but, more important, leads the Flyers with a plus-3 rating. No other Flyer is better than plus-1. Only Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (plus-4) is better in the series in that department than Giroux.
"The best thing he can do is go out and play good without the puck and check properly, and good things will happen," Berube said.
If Giroux is frustrated, he certainly isn't letting on.
"It's the playoffs and why it is so interesting, and it is the best part of the year," he said. "That is why you play hockey, because you want to play in the playoffs and go as far as you can, and you have to be able to enjoy it."
He'll no doubt enjoy it more if he adds his name to the scoring column.