Claude Giroux

Alain Vigneault, Claude Giroux commend Flyers fans for saluting Oskar Lindblom

Alain Vigneault, Claude Giroux commend Flyers fans for saluting Oskar Lindblom

Alain Vigneault is new to Philadelphia.

Claude Giroux is the city's longest-tenured athlete, going back to 2008.

As they watched Flyers fans give Oskar Lindblom a loud and lengthy standing ovation Saturday night, both shared the same sentiment.

They were moved — but not surprised.

Lindblom, the team's 23-year-old forward who is undergoing treatment for Ewing's sarcoma, was shown on the Jumbotron during the first period of the Flyers-Lightning game.

The crowd of 19,866 fans saluted Lindblom for the entire stoppage of play (see story/video).

It was outstanding," Vigneault said Monday after morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. "You can tell he was a little not at ease there, he’s a pretty shy young man, but it was great to see the fans’ support. I expected nothing less from these great fans and this great crowd that we have here.

I think it gave goose bumps to everybody watching there.

Giroux, the 32-year-old captain, has mentioned how it's not just the team behind Lindblom, "it’s the whole city.”

Lindblom saw the Flyers at practice Friday before attending Saturday night's game.

The visit meant everything to the Flyers. The ovation was special, too.

That was to be expected," Giroux said. "Philadelphia, they’re really good at sticking together. I was very excited for Oskar to be able to come to the game. We’d love to spend more time with him, he’s going through a lot right now and we want to be there for him, but it’s a little hard for us to kind of do that. But he’s a strong kid, his attitude is unbelievable and it was great to see.

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Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday

Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday

The Flyers went 1-1-1 over the past week and entered Sunday holding the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot via tiebreaker.

After a 1-4-1 road trip, the Flyers are hoping some home cooking can push them back into a more comfortable position within the playoff race. Before their NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30, the Flyers play four of five games at the Wells Fargo Center, where they've performed significantly better compared to on the road.

Let's get into some weekly observations:

• As frustrating as it is to be shut out, the Flyers can take a lot positives away from Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the Lightning.

That Tampa Bay team was scoring 4.67 goals per game over its nine-game winning streak coming into Philadelphia and the Flyers held it to one flukey goal.

Last season, the Flyers allowed 5.67 goals per game to the Lightning in three matchups (all losses). Holding the Capitals and Lightning to a combined three goals and 0 for 9 on the power play in back-to-back games is nothing to fret about.

The Flyers have had issues with consistently producing on the offensive side, but that's the defensive response the Flyers needed after allowing 28 goals (15 in the first period) on the six-game road swing.

• The Flyers recalled forward Connor Bunnaman from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Sunday and loaned winger David Kase to the Phantoms.

The move has a lot to do with the Flyers' play down the middle. The team wants to play Scott Laughton on the wing, where he's been more effective in greater minutes.

Near the end of the preseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher was high on Bunnaman's ability to play fourth-line center. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder will get his shot to give the Flyers better flexibility within their lineup.

But if Morgan Frost starts putting up points with the Phantoms, he won't be far away from giving the Flyers another offensive jolt (and more balance) down the middle. The Flyers needed the 20-year-old playmaker back in November and might need him again soon.

• Claude Giroux turned 32 years old on Sunday.

Among the Flyers' all-time franchise leaders, the captain is second in assists (544), third in games played (865), fourth in points (793) and 10th in goals (249).

Since the 2011-12 season, Giroux is third among active NHL players in points (643), behind only Patrick Kane (692) and Sidney Crosby (661).

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2019-20 Flyers have been defined by how they've responded to adversity

2019-20 Flyers have been defined by how they've responded to adversity

VOORHEES, N.J. — Like many teams in the NHL, the Flyers have positives and negatives. 

We know one of those negatives is their record on the road, among other things, but through the ups and downs of the season, one of the biggest positives gathered from this team can be described in one word — response.

The way this team has been able to respond to adversity in game situations, schedule situations, shorthanded situations, etc. has relieved some of the stress and frustrations of the season. 

The Flyers struggled in the first 20 minutes of several games on the road. They allowed a combined 11 goals in the first period during a three-game stretch from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4. The players will tell you, it wasn’t ideal to be in situations in which they were chasing the game, but in two of those three games, the Flyers had the chance to take control in the final minutes. 

The Flyers have had three four-game losing streaks this season and while it isn’t a good sign to see a team drop four in a row, they have never let it go any further. The most notable game was their 3-2 statement win over the best team in the league, the Washington Capitals, this past Wednesday.

“There was a lot to build on in our last two games," head coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday. "We’re obviously missing a couple key components but all teams go through that. You have to continue to find ways to compete and to win and that’s what we’re trying to do.

"Our schedule is a challenging one, tough opponent tonight (Tampa Bay Lightning), tough opponents coming in … so it’s important that we stay in the present, stay in the moment, focus on what we we’ve got to do tonight against Tampa Bay.”

The Flyers' success on home ice has certainly helped the way they’ve been able to respond to different situations, specifically after the tough six-game road trip in which they went 1-5. 

They returned home Wednesday, where they are currently riding a five-game winning streak and have the fourth-highest goals per game average in the NHL (3.75).

“I think our confidence wasn’t really great but obviously coming back home, our record has been pretty good this year," Claude Giroux said. "Washington is a pretty good team and for us to be able to get the win, I think it’s good for everybody in this room right now.” 

The Flyers are 14-2-4 at Wells Fargo Center this season and will look to continue their home ice success against the Lightning, who haven't lost since Dec. 21.

The team still has much to prove and will need to continue to battle through adversity with injuries to two of its key defensemen, Justin Braun and Shayne Gostisbehere. 

A positive response in the remainder of this three-game game homestand is exactly what the Flyers will need.

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