Claude Giruox Suspension: Why Flyers Will Beat the Devils Without Top Star
The Philadelphia Flyers will lose Claude Giroux for Game 5 of their second-round series against the New Jersey Devils because he is suspended for one game, but the Flyers will beat the Devils anyway because of their remarkable resiliency.
This is a Flyers team that never gives up, and that's why they are so tough to eliminate in the playoffs, something the Devils will learn in Game 5.
Will the Flyers win Game 5?
These Philadelphia players truly believe that they can come back against any opponent no matter the deficit, as was evident in their 2010 second-round series against the Boston Bruins.
In that series, the Flyers fell behind 0-3 in the series before pulling off a historic comeback to eliminate the Bruins in seven games.
Many of the players from that 2010 team, including head coach Peter Laviolette, are still part of the team today.
The Flyers also have the offensive talent and depth to make up for Giroux's loss. There's no question that he's the team's best offensive player, but he wasn't the only reason why the Flyers ranked second in the NHL in goals scored per game this season.
Ten Flyers players, Giroux included, reached 30 points or more this season. Young forwards James Van Riemsdyk and Brayden Schenn, two highly skilled forwards, did not reach 30 points because of injuries, but they are healthy in the playoffs and are playing well.
Veteran forwards such as Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell are talented goal scorers who should be able to lead the Flyers offense without Giroux.
Philadelphia has the talent to score goals, so failing to put the puck past Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in Game 5 cannot be blamed on Giroux's absence.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who has been criticized a lot this season—and rightly so—for his poor performances this season, played very well in the Game 4 loss.
If he plays at that level again, the Flyers will have a great chance to win Game 5 and extend the series.
Even without their best player in Giroux, the Flyers have the resiliency and offensive skill needed to push the series to a Game 6 and beat the Devils in front of their home crowd on Thursday night.
Claude Giroux's absence will not be an acceptable excuse for a Game 5 defeat.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.
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