If you’re going to make a guarantee, proclaiming victory against the Ottawa Senators seems to be the way to go this season.
Following the Flyers' most lopsided defeat in a home opener in 47 years, Claude Giroux said, “We’re going to go back to work and get a win in Ottawa,” and the Flyers followed through with a 7-4 victory Wednesday (see observations) to wash out the bad taste of a horrible loss on South Broad.
With all due respect to Giroux and the Flyers, a lot of teams will be taking victories out of Ottawa this season.
Just prior to training camp, Ottawa traded its best player, two-time Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson, to the San Jose Sharks — the team that whipped the Flyers 8-2 on home ice just 24 hours earlier.
You can argue the Senators' franchise is still in the tear-down phase of their rebuild.
Entering the regular season, Vegas oddsmakers had the Sens listed as a 200-1 long shot to win the Stanley Cup. Teenager Brady Tkachuk, who just turned 19 a month ago, is arguably their most talented player, and he’s still finding his way in the league.
For 30-year-old Giroux, just playing in front of friends and family in his hometown provides plenty of incentive, but there was no backing down from his bold statement. The Flyers' captain backed it up with a goal and an assist on a team-high seven shots.
And it wasn’t just Giroux.
Jake Voracek tallied his first ever five-point game, defenseman Radko Gudas registered three assists for the first time, and Calvin Pickard was just good enough to win his Flyers' debut.
“I think it was important for us to bounce back and play the way we wanted to,” Giroux told reporters. “It was a great team effort. I know Nolan (Patrick) went down and guys stepped up and really played well as a team.”
Patrick exited the game in the first period with an upper-body injury that looks like it may have been a head or neck injury.
Whether Giroux actually believed he was throwing out a guarantee, or if his words were just said in the heat of the moment was unclear, but the Flyers still had to show up and get under the skin of the Senators. Ottawa’s lack of discipline led to seven Flyers power-play opportunities, and Giroux and company had no problem cashing in, scoring twice on 20 power-play shots.
Bad team, plus bad discipline, equals very good results for any opponent, and the Flyers were the lucky recipients as they rolled a seven on the Canadian Tire Center scoreboard.
“This is a hell of a push-back win on a back-to-back when it was coming off a real miserable night in our own building,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’re going to take the positives, regroup and build for Saturday.”
Then again, producing positives against the Ottawa Senators this season should be expected.