Giroux nets OT winner as Flyers edge Sens
OTTAWA -- Claude Giroux has had what he called “a pretty good week.”
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Flyers captain got engaged to his longtime girlfriend. On Thursday, he scored two goals, including the overtime winner, to lead the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
Giroux, who moved to the Ottawa area when he was 14 and starred for the nearby Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, had just four goals in 28 previous games against the Senators.
The winner on Thursday came just 40 seconds into overtime, when Flyers winger Jakub Voracek spun off Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson had set up Giroux for a one-timer.
“He’s a good player 1-on-1 and I just try to give him room, and he’s able to find me,” Giroux said of Voracek. “That goal was all him. It was a really good play.”
The Senators had built a 2-0 lead on goals by wingers Mike Hoffman and Ryan Dzingel, but Giroux started the comeback late in the second and defenseman Michael Del Zotto knotted the count exactly one minute later.
“We said this morning we wanted to start stronger, and going up by two is something we can be proud of,” said Hoffman. “But there’s 60 minutes to play in a hockey game, sometimes 65 like tonight, and we’ve got to have a better full effort throughout the whole game.”
Flyers goalie Steve Mason made 19 saves to earn the seventh win of the season. Senators goalie Mike Condon made 29 saves in his fourth start for Ottawa.
“I thought we were the better team for the entire 60-plus minutes,” said Mason. “The boys had a good effort all around and we got what we deserved tonight.”
The win was the third in a row for the Flyers (12-10-3), who were coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Boston Bruins.
“I think we’re still striving for consistency,” said Mason. “The last home game wasn’t a great home game. We found ourselves lucky to get the two points there. Tonight we came back with an effort that wins you hockey games. The boys battled back from two down and were able to cap it off in overtime with a great play by (Voracek) and (Giroux).”
The Senators (14-8-2) have just one point to show for their last two games after rattling off four successive wins.
On Thursday, they killed off all four penalties they took against the Flyers, who have the second-ranked power play in the league.
“The second period killed us. We were hemmed in for a long time,” said Senators defenseman Cody Ceci. “We had a lot of time to kill and that just wears on you.”
The Senators lost defenseman Fredrik Claesson to an injury after he played just four shifts in the second, leaving them with just five blue liners.
“I think we have a lot of guys that fill in really well and Condon played great,” said Dzingel. “I don’t think it was the lack of guys, just some little things we need to clean up.”
Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol was pleased with his team’s effort against the Senators, who beat the Flyers 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 16, in Philly.
“Against this team, you have to skate 200 feet in both directions,” said Hakstol. “If you don’t have the puck, you have to skate and check. I thought our whole group did that tonight.”
In their loss to the Bruins, the Flyers gave up a two-goal lead before prevailing.
”This was a much different game for us,“ said Hakstol. ”Tuesday really was a tale of our goaltender doing a great job stealing us a couple of points. We didn’t have a whole lot of gas in the tank.
“I thought tonight was a real good consistent 61-minute effort right from start to finish pretty much up and down our lineup. A much-needed outcome for us on the road and a pretty good effort by our group all the way through.”
The Flyers’ next game is Saturday, when they are at home to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Senators host the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
NOTES: Senators F Max McCormick played his fifth NHL game of the season, replacing RW Bobby Ryan (hand). ... Senators D Fredrik Claesson played his seventh game, and started the night as Erik Karlsson’s blue-line partner, with D Marc Methot sidelined by an undisclosed injury. ... Senators G Craig Anderson is on leave to be with his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment. ... Flyers D Brandon Manning skated in the morning but remains sidelined day-to-day with concussion symptoms. ... Flyers C Scott Laughton was scratched for the third game in a row. ... Flyers D Nick Schultz was scratched for the 10th game in a row.