Flyers

Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. – Claude Giroux has now gone nine games without a goal.
 
The impetus for Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol moving Brayden Schenn off Giroux's line and reinserting Michael Raffl last week was to create more touches for the Flyers' captain.
 
Giroux, who is third on the club with 19 points, is fifth in the NHL in assists with 15 and first in power-play points (11). He’s just not getting it done in terms of scoring 5-on-5.
 
Hakstol doesn’t seem worried about his top center, who was not among the nine skaters on the ice for Monday’s optional practice. Giroux has two assists in his last two games.
 
“I’ve liked his last few games,” Hakstol said. “The competitiveness. That’s where everything starts and finishes with this game if you break it down. Competitiveness on pucks. G is a good player when the puck is on his stick and he’s making plays.”
 
The problem has been, the puck hasn’t been on Giroux’s stick enough. He has 23 shots over his last nine games, which is less than three per game. 
 
That severely limits your chance of scoring unless you are getting a lot of power play opportunities. Coincidentally, three of Giroux’s four goals this season have come on the power play.
 
Hakstol said Giroux has done a “tremendous job” on the power play. It’s why he and Wayne Simmonds are among the top five in in power-play points. Simmonds has 10.
 
“He’s doing very well there,” Hakstol said. “His faceoffs have been solid, have been good.”
 
Giroux ranks 18th among the top 20 in faceoff winning percentage (54.5 percent). If you consider players who have taken 500 or more draws, however, Giroux is third in the NHL behind only Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler (60 percent) and Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu (55 percent).
 
It’s 5-on-5 play where he is struggling to find goals and sustained line chemistry.
 
“In terms of 5-on-5, finding some of that chemistry, sometimes things just don’t click,” Hakstol said. “That was one of the things I saw in Brayden. Just on the left side, things weren’t happening, weren’t coming easily. 
 
“[Giroux] didn’t have the puck enough. So we changed that up and looked for a little different chemistry there. Part of that is to put Brayden in a position of strength, and part of that is to find a little different chemistry on the left side with G.”
 
Schenn now has his own line with Chris VandeVelde and Roman Lyubimov. Schenn, incidentally, has played 365 career games with the Flyers. Of that number, he has been the center just 115 times — 31.5 percent.
 
Raffl was part of Giroux’s line many times in the past on left wing. 
 
“One of the things Raf does is he creates puck possession,” Hakstol said. “When the puck is on Claude’s tape and he is making plays with it, he’s a very effective player. Some of those things go hand-in-hand with each other.”