Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers are beginning to show their frustration after they struggled to score again in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday.
The Flyers have been limited to seven goals in the series and will try to avoid elimination in Game 5 in Toronto, the Eastern hub city, on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).
Teams trailing 3-1 are 29-284 (9.3 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including a 0-6 in the first round this season.
“I think every situation’s been a little different,” said Giroux, who has one assist in the series. “At the end of the day, playoffs is a different game. We’ve had success in the playoffs before, when I started playing. It’s about finding a way. Next game is obviously the biggest game of the season and you’ve just got to find a way to get a win and play your best.”
Giroux isn’t the only Flyers player having trouble scoring, but the spotlight is on the Philadelphia captain because he has five assists in 13 games this postseason and one goal in his past 25 playoff games overall.
He scored 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) in 56 playoff games prior to that.
“I’m trying to find ways to score a goal, help the team,” Giroux said. “Obviously a little frustrated, but I’m not too sure what to say. I know I can play better, and I know I can help this team and next game is huge.”
Giroux had his most active game of the series Sunday, getting five shots on goal, including two quality chances when the score was tied 1-1.
The first came on a quick wrist shot from the left circle with 2:36 remaining in the second period. After goalie Thomas Greiss snagged it with his glove, Giroux skated behind the net and slapped his stick against the glass.
Greiss again stopped Giroux on a diving rebound attempt with his glove at 6:31 of the third period, and 47 seconds later, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a breakaway to give New York a 2-1 lead.
“I think we generated a lot of chances. Goalie made some nice saves,” Giroux said. “As a team, I think the first period was OK, but then second and third was our best hockey. End of the day, doesn’t matter how hard you work, you’ve got to find a way.”
Travis Konecny, who led the Flyers with 24 goals during the regular season, and forward James van Riemsdyk, who was fifth with 19, also have yet to score in the playoffs. Sean Couturier, who was third with 22 goals, scored his second of the postseason on a deflection to tie it 1-1 with 4:41 left in the second period.
But his goal and defenseman Ivan Provorov‘s shot from the point with 1:05 left in the third were all Philadelphia had to show for its 38 shots on Greiss.
“We busted a gut, we worked hard tonight,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We gave our best effort. Give credit where credit is due. They’re playing well, they’re getting good saves and were able to pull it off tonight.”
If there’s one thing the Flyers could take away heading into Game 5, it would be the sustained pressure they were able to create in the second and third period. Philadelphia outshot New York 17-3 in the second and 14-12 in the third, but the Islanders were better at capitalizing on their chances.
New York has outscored Philadelphia 8-1 in the third period in the series.
“I thought our second half was really good,” Couturier said. “We kind of took over play, but at the end of the day, it’s not good enough. We’ve got to grind it and find a way to get the win.”