It was only fitting.
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux had to score the game-tying and game-winning goal Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. As the capacity crowd of 19,852 at the Wells Fargo Center rose to their feet and rejoiced, the Flyers captain sheathed his stick. It was business as usual. One minute and thirty-eight seconds remained in the third period. There was still work to be done.
Giroux scored twice and had two asssits to lead his team to a 5-4 victory. The win vaulted the orange and black over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Down in the locker room, after the game, a teammate and coach spoke on behalf of the team.
“G put all 20 of us on his back and led us to victory.” -Scott Hartnell
“Our captain came through.” – Craig Berube
The magnitude of Giroux’s goals cannot be underestimated. His two goals came against a team that was 36-0-1 when leading after two periods.
A loss would put allow the Blue Jackets to gain a crucial two points in the Metropolitan Division and would sink the Flyers’ record to 0-5 when given a chance to go over .500. Giroux refused to let that happen. No more.
The significance of these goals was magnified because of the events that set the stage for Giroux to take over.
As the second period ended, the Flyers exited the ice to a chorus of well-deserved boos. They looked out of sorts and surrendered two goals, one of them shorthanded, to give the Blue Jackets a 3-0 lead going into the second intermission. Five minutes into the third period, the deficit was only one, but then Blake Comeau put the Blue Jackets back up by two with ten minutes remaining.
On a delayed penalty, Erik Gustafsson would score off a rebound to put the Flyers within one.
With less than five minutes remaining, Jakub Voracek grabbed a loose puck and sped up ice. He crossed the blue line and cut to the middle of the ice where he fired a shot that initially hit the post, but came right to the stick of Giroux. The captain lifted his arms and pumped his fist, urging the fans to get louder. He knew, and we knew, the Flyers were not going to lose this game.
Just over two minutes later, that’s exactly what he did.
It was only fitting.