Can Claude Giroux hit 30-goal mark for 1st time?

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Can Claude Giroux hit 30-goal mark for 1st time?

Statistically, there’s not much Claude Giroux hasn’t done at this point of his career.

The Flyers' captain recently reached the 400-assist plateau, a table of four that includes Giroux, Bob Clarke, Brian Propp and Bill Barber in franchise history.

“Yeah, that’s fun,” Giroux said. “I never really thought that I was at that number. In the past, I’ve played with a lot of guys who can score goals, so it makes it a lot easier.”

However, through the first eight games of this season, Giroux is the guy who’s the goal scorer and he’s on a Tim Kerr-like projection. The captain has five goals in the Flyers' first eight games. If “G” continues his torrid pace, he’ll finish the season with 51 goals, which would be a 180-degree deviation from his typical production of points. It’s the quickest start Giroux has had in the goal-scoring department since 2011-12 when he ripped home 11 goals in the first 17 games of the season.

But let’s slow down the spinning red goal light for a moment. Giroux isn’t reaching 50 goals. He knows that, and even 40 goals would be an extreme stretch for someone who’s more of a playmaker than a shoot-first sniper. But his first ever 30-goal season? That’s definitely plausible for a player of Giroux’s caliber.

“Yeah, obviously it would be fun to have that,” Giroux said. “There’s a lot of hockey left to play. It’s only eight games. I’m not really thinking of that right now, but if it happens, that’s pretty cool.”

“Of course, he’s got it in him,” linemate Jake Voracek said of Giroux possibly scoring 30 goals. “When you’re a good player like that, it’s gonna happen.”

Giroux has knocked on the door of 30 goals a couple of times in his career, having scored 28 in 2011-12 and again two years later in 2013-14. But if you think he has more of a shooter’s mentality playing left wing, it’s actually quite the opposite — Giroux is shooting less, averaging just two shots on net per game. The number that sticks out so far is an eye-popping 29.4 shooting percentage — another number that won’t continue to hold up — for a career 10.4 percent shooter.   

“I don’t think we’re shooting just to shoot the puck. I think we’re doing a good job of keeping the puck, making plays and finding late guys,” Giroux said. “When that happens, obviously, your shots aren’t going to go that high, but the quality of chances are going to go higher.”

Thirty is a magical number for almost any NHL player not named Ovechkin or Crosby. For Wayne Simmonds, he's circled that number, annually coming within a goal or two in three straight non-lockout seasons before finally connecting for 32 in 2015-16.

Even Voracek wouldn’t mind reaching the big 3-0.

“I think I have it in me, too,” he said. “I scored 22 goals during the lockout season, so I probably would have hit 30 that year. It depends on how you start the year, when you get hot, how hot you get.”

With four goals in his last four games, Giroux is red-hot, much like his finely-manicured beard. And if superstition counts for anything, he won’t shave it anytime soon.

Flyers call up Danick Martel, Samuel Morin

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Flyers call up Danick Martel, Samuel Morin

Mired in a five-game losing streak and in last place in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers on Wednesday recalled defenseman Samuel Morin and forward Danick Martel from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Both players are expected to be in the lineup Wednesday against the Islanders in New York. In corresponding moves, the Flyers sent forward Matt Read, who cleared waivers Tuesday, and defenseman Mark Alt to the Phantoms.

The 22-year-old Martel has been on fire with the Phantoms. He leads the AHL with 14 goals in 17 games this season, including a hat trick in the season opener to go along with a six-game scoring streak.

“He’s taken a step this year, for sure,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Tuesday. “He’s been a good player the last couple of years, but this year, he’s clearly taken a step. He’s a dangerous player when he’s on the ice. That’s a good thing. One game in Hershey he must have had six or seven chances. We’re happy with Danick.”

Morin started the season on the Flyers' roster and remained through their four-game road trip. He suffered an injury in an Oct. 28th game against Hartford and tried to play through it in the event he would be called up to rejoin the Flyers. Morin returned to the Phantoms' lineup last week.

“Mark has played well for us,” Hextall said before Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Vancouver. “We like Sam. We kept him on the opening road trip. People, I hope, know what we think of him. He certainly knows what we think of him and right now, he’s playing 20-plus minutes. That’s where he’s at.”

Wednesday’s game at the Barclays Center could mark the first time the Flyers have played much-heralded defensive prospects Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg and Morin in the same regular season game.

“It’s certainly not a perfect world, but as you get injured, you say, we don’t live in a perfect world,” Hextall said. “Is it necessarily what we want? No, not really. We’ve got five young guys, two last year that are pretty big pieces. We’re pretty young right now with some pretty important players. In saying that if a young guy’s ready to play and he’s our best option then that’s what we’re going to go with.”

Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

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Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and two assists and got in a rare fight Tuesday night, helping the St. Louis Blues to an 8-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Brayden Schenn also had two goals and two assists, and Jake Allen stopped 26 shots for the NHL-leading Blues.

Tarasenko's fight came in the second period. In just the third scrap of his six-year career, Tarasenko tangled with Matt Benning and landed a solid right hand much to the crowd's delight.

Tarasenko was reacting to Benning's near-collision with Schenn that was almost a knee-on-knee hit.

It was Tarasenko's second career Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. The other one came on Nov. 13, 2014, against Nashville.

St. Louis (16-5-1) scored two goals in each of the first two periods before adding four in a wide-open third.

Tarasenko got his 11th goal 3:16 into the first period on two deflections. Shooting from the slot, he scored when his shot hit Connor McDavid's stick and then Adam Larsson's stick for a 1-0 lead.

Tarasenko has 14 points in his last 13 games (nine goals, five assists) against the Oilers (see full recap).

Stars rally for home win over Canadiens
DALLAS -- Devin Shore and Jason Spezza scored 59 seconds apart late in the second period to lift the Dallas Stars over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Shore had no goals in the first 19 games this season, but scored for the second straight game to tie it 1-all at 18:22 of the second. Spezza, who also has scored in consecutive games after netting only one goal in the first 19, put in a rebound just less than a minute later.

Shore had an assist on Spezza's goal. So did Tyler Seguin, who scored into an empty net with 27 seconds to play.

Ben Bishop made 29 saves for Dallas on his 31st birthday. He allowed only a power-play goal by Brendan Gallagher at 12:04 of the second. Gallagher scored on a rebound after Charles Hudon sent a slap shot from the blue line.

After that, the Stars killed off all three Montreal power plays in the third period.

Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren had 26 saves.

Neither team scored in the first period. The best chance came with 2:15 remaining, when Mattias Janmark skated in alone on Lindgren, who stopped the shot with his glove and smothered the puck on the ice.

Montreal had a 4-on-3 power play to end the first period and start the second. The Stars killed off that penalty and finished 4 for 5 on the penalty kill.

The Canadiens had a scoring chance 4 minutes into the second when Brandon Davidson's wrist shot trickled past Bishop. Gemel Smith knocked the loose puck out of the crease for the Stars.

Gallagher had two close-in chances on rebounds after Hudon's shot and poked the second into the net for the game's first goal (see full recap).