Claude Giroux made the message loud and clear after a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Feb. 16.
“It’s not acceptable the way we played tonight,” the Flyers’ captain said. “It’s not just two or three guys. It’s the whole team. We didn’t show up.”
Just 26 seconds into their Monday afternoon matinee with the New York Islanders on Feb. 18, Giroux made his actions speak even louder.
Giroux scored his first of two goals on the day and the first of seven Flyer goals in a 7-0 shellacking of the Isles.
The top line of Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Matt Read combined for 10 points total.
Finally, the Flyers looked like a team that was firing on all cylinders. Finally, the Flyers played with passion and anger.
But as soon as the final horn sounded on the team’s first shutout win of the season, it was still just one of 48 games in the lockout-shortened season that is rapidly moving forward.
The Flyers close out a six-game road trip with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. In the not so distant future come three games agaisnt the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. All three have already defeated the Flyers this month.
Somehow, even with a 7-9-1 record, you can look at the standings and find the Flyers in a tie for ninth place, just two points out of a playoff spot. It’s hard to believe that 17 games into the season, the Flyers have just 15 points and are still in the race.
But for all of the things that went right on Monday, including another excellent effort in goal by Ilya Bryzgalov – easily the team’s shining star this season – the Flyers still need to recover from a slow start.
The team has a five-game homestand starting with Florida on Thursday, Feb. 21. The Flyers are 4-1-1 at home this season.
Perhaps this is where the Flyers heat up for good and play like the team many thought they would. But it will take several repeats of Monday’s performance to truly prove it.