Flyers' Giroux channels Messier in near-guarantee

Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers is checked by Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers...

Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers is checked by Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the first round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 22, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Rangers defeated the Flyers 4-1. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP)

KEN WIEBE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:23 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Feel free to call it The ‘G’ Guarantee.

While it provides an interesting storyline in the series between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, that Claude Giroux expects his team to go back to New York with the series tied 2-2 shouldn’t qualify as bulletin-board material.

In reality, the quote from the Flyers captain is generally mild when compared to what Rangers captain Mark Messier said nearly 20 years ago before delivering a virtuoso performance while facing elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the New Jersey Devils.

When you boil it down, Giroux simply said what any good leader should in the aftermath of a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday night that put his team down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

“It doesn’t change anything for us. We’ll be ready for Game 4 (here on Friday),” said Giroux. “We’re going to tie up this series and go back to New York. We just have to stay confident.”

What did you expect him to say?

Giroux wasn’t about to wave a white towel in surrender after the Flyers promptly lost the home-ice advantage they had wrestled away from the Rangers after winning in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

It was one game and the Flyers are going to try and bounce back, just as they did after dropping the series opener.

Since there are two days off between games and they didn’t skate, no Rangers players were available to voice their opinions on Giroux’s statement, but head coach Alain Vigneault didn’t sound the least bit offended by what he heard.

“What Giroux said there is totally expected,” said Vigneault. “(The Flyers) expect to go into the next game and win and I’m sure our guys expect to go into the next game and win. That’s part of competitive nature. I can’t foresee any one of our players not stepping on the ice at anytime and not thinking that they can win.

“We know that come Friday, it’s another game. We’re going to get ready for it and we’re going to have a plan. We’re going to work real hard to try and win that game. I can tell you, I’m 100% sure that Philly is going to do the same thing.”

Giroux has been a lightning rod for criticism in this series, but give the guy credit, he’s not ducking the questions of reporters who surround him in scrums daily and continue to ask why he hasn’t been his productive self so far.

The Flyers’ top line, which also includes Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell combined for one goal and five points in three games, with Giroux chipping in with two assists and registering just two shots on net.

Although the effort is there and Giroux is contributing in other ways, when you produce 28 goals and 86 points during the regular season, expectations are higher.

If you want to go deep in the playoffs, the top players need to perform at an elite level, regardless of how difficult life can be when a guy is up against a tough checking line or a smothering defence pairing, as Giroux routinely is.

The Flyers need more from Giroux and don’t be the least bit surprised if they get it before the series is over.

Much like Marty St. Louis has been doing for the Rangers, Giroux needs to build on the positive reinforcement he’s received from his teammates and get back to doing the things he normally does to create dangerous opportunities for himself and others.

This isn’t the first time Giroux has made a so-called guarantee this season, either.

Back in October, Giroux said the Flyers would make the playoffs this season, even after getting off to a 1-7 start.

Giroux got that prediction right, but whether he can have a Messier-like impact on Game 4 and make his latest one come true remains to be seen.


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