On a sunny but chilly day in February, Philadelphia went gaga over its beloved Eagles winning their first-ever Super Bowl title.
Not long after the parade died down, Claude Giroux hit the Wells Fargo Center ice, a common sight for the past 10 years.
Motivated and rejuvenated, Giroux then showed why he's still a fixture in this city, a face that goes up among the biggest when it comes to the Philly sports scene.
The 30-year-old captain was a must-see star Thursday night, spinning together a three-point game with a goal and two beautiful assists to push the Flyers past the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3 (see observations).
Carey Price, a six-time All-Star and 2014-15 Vezina Trophy winner, saw a force. When the Canadiens' goalie was asked for the difference in Thursday's game, he didn't have to wax poetic.
"Claude Giroux," Price said simply. "He played a pretty good game tonight. I think he was the difference-maker.
"He's definitely got great vision. He's pretty shifty out there. He always seems to be in a good position to make a play to multiple players."
Giroux made play after play, especially when the Flyers needed it.
First, he helped them take a 1-0 lead early in the second period when he set up Travis Konecny with a terrific lead pass through two Canadiens. Later in the stanza, he erased a shorthanded goal off a Jakub Voracek turnover by regaining the advantage at 2-1 with a tally of his own. And then, to put the Flyers ahead once more — and for good — Giroux found Voracek with a cross-ice feed to claim a 3-2 third-period edge en route to a second straight victory (see highlights).
Giroux, never exactly satisfied with himself, was not pleased with his play last time out, despite a 2-1 overtime win serving as the final result Tuesday.
Did this performance meet his personal standards?
"A little bit better," he said. "When you help the team win, that's what you're trying to do. You're trying to do something to help the team and I think everybody did a good job tonight."
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol witnessed what he's been seeing a lot of on Giroux's redemption tour.
"It's not always about points, but G played well tonight and he made plays tonight. I think that's what he was probably most hard on himself in regards to after the game in Carolina," Hakstol said. "No question tonight, he went out and made plays and was a difference-maker for our team. That's what you want to see. He's pretty hard on himself, maybe overly so. But he felt he could play better and he went out and did that tonight."
Giroux has been substantially better from 2016-17 when he posted a career low in goals (14) for a full season and a third straight drop-off in points (58). In 54 games this season, he already has more goals (16), assists (45) and points (61) than he did last year over 82 games.
"Everybody knows in that room that he wears his heart on his sleeve," Hakstol said. "He expects a lot out of the people around him, but he puts himself at the head of the line. After a good win for our team, he had a lot of praise for his teammates and felt like he needed to be a little bit better. That's something that's pretty well-respected inside of the locker room."
Much of that has to do with being held accountable, not just by himself.
"When it's not going your way, when you're not playing the way you want to, you've got to challenge yourself," Giroux said. "Coaches do a good job and even teammates — I've got Jake and Wayne (Simmonds) yelling at me a couple times and that kind of gets you going a little bit."
Giroux's push has the Flyers in good standing for more postseason drive in Philadelphia. The Flyers sit three points ahead in the Eastern Conference's first wild-card spot and just one point behind the New Jersey Devils for third place in the busy Metropolitan Division.
With 28 games to go, No. 28 must be the guy for the Flyers — and Thursday was further proof he still very much is.