Led by Claude Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers are back (in the East anyway)

Claude Giroux’s backhand beauty Thursday night lifted the Flyers to a comeback win against the Blue Jackets. But this is only one small example on the impact he’s had turning Philadelphia’s season around.

Suddenly, backhanders are all the rage in the NHL. There was Patrick Kane’s artistry earlier this week and Thursday night it was Claude Giroux.

Philadelphia’s 5-4 win against Columbus was a microcosm of their season so far – painfully slow start, strong turnaround led by the captain. Giroux was magnificent pulling his team back into a game they trailed 3-0 after two periods and 4-2 with less than five minutes left in regulation. He scored the winner (shown above), the tying goal two minutes earlier and also posted two assists.

But that’s just a small scale example of the difference he’s made. The Flyers have turned a 4-10-1 start into a 12-5-3 stretch that launched them up the Metropolitan Division and back into a playoff spot. There’s no coincidence to the fact this turnaround started Nov. 9 – the night Giroux scored his first goal of the season.

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It’s hard to believe now, but remember it took him 16 games to get that first one. There was even some weakening faith in his placement on Team Canada in Sochi. But since then, he has nine goals and 23 points in 20 games. Example 1a why Olympic rosters are decided on a larger body of work than just the start of the current season.

Is there any doubt to Giroux’s Olympic destiny anymore?

There never really was.