Claude Giroux scored arguably the most dramatic goal of his entire career, a game-winner with four seconds remaining to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks Tuesday.
The goal came just seconds after the captain sprinted down the ice to start the last shift of overtime, on a pass from Mark Strait.
“I knew there wasn’t a lot of time,” Giroux said, “so I was just trying to shoot it as hard as I could at the end of the game, I just shot it on net.”
The goal punctuated a huge win, with the Flyers in the midst of some of the toughest opponents they will face all season.
“Against a team like Chicago, we took it as a challenge against one of the best teams in the league,” Giroux said. “It’s a big win for us.”
The Flyers looked like they broke the deadlock earlier in the game, in the third period when a Brayden Schenn shot crossed into a wide open net, but the goal was called off after a shot just a second prior by Schenn that hit the post was said to have made contact with a high stick.
The rest of the third period was dramatic and tough. Fights, great scoring chances and even better saves highlighted what was one of the best, most evenly-matched games the Flyers have played this entire season. They did get a crucial point when the game headed to overtime, putting some space between them and the East’s other wild card contender Columbus.
Without a goal to show for their effort for more than 48 minutes, the Flyers dominated in several categories, most noteworthy shots on goal, 37-25.
At the start, Flyers goalie Ray Emery looked a little rusty. Or maybe a lot rusty. The backup goalie hasn’t played in nine games and allowed two goals in the first three minutes against the Blackhawks, one to Andrew Shaw and then Duncan Keith.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in there,” Emery said, “and it’s a little unnerving having a couple quick ones.”
Hartnell said enough of that, scoring the Flyers’ first goal from Brayden Coburn just a couple minutes later to cut the Chicago lead to 2-1 and then the equalizer toward the end of the frame, the puck finding the top shelf on a slap shot from Giroux and Matt Read.
In the second, the Flyers and Blackhawks tried to match speed and power, but despite several scoring chances, most notably one by Sean Couturier just in front of the net, the game stayed tied at 2-apiece after the second buzzer.
“We [created] a lot of traffic in front of the goalie,” Giroux said, referencing several occasions he helped create scoring chances. “We hit a lot of posts but when you hit a post you pick up momentum.”
The Philadelphia special teams remain pretty solid, particularly the penalty kill unit which hasn’t allowed an opposing power play goal since they allowed three against the Capitals on March 5. Including Tuesday, the Flyers are 18-18 in penalty kills in their last five games.
“It was a fun game to play,” Giroux said. “I am sure it was a fun game to watch also. We were just enjoying ourselves out there.”