October 12 Philadelphia Daily News:
“STANDING WITH his gloves propped up on his stick, just inside the Flyers‘ blue line in a dark Wells Fargo Center, Mike Richards watched a highlight video of last year’s awe-inspiring run to the Stanley Cup finals.
“It gave you the chills,” Richards said.
But the banner that was unveiled minutes later in the rafters, reading “Eastern Conference Champions 2009-10” was both a spine-tingling flash of pride for Richards and his teammates and a painful reminder that the Flyers fell two games short of the ultimate prize, all at once.
It was also the final cap on one of the Flyers‘ most memorable seasons in their 43-year history.
“It was good, it was obviously exciting,” Richards said. “But at the same time, it was nice to move on to this year and forget about last year.”
Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter made it pretty easy for the Flyers to forget about their shortcomings last June with their first-period breakaway goals, which helped propel the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in their home opener.
Both goals came as a result of the Flyers’ rabid penalty kill. Giroux scored on a shorthanded breakaway, and Carter’s goal came on a rush 4 seconds after a penalty expired.
Just last week, Giroux entered this season without a single shorthanded goal in his brief career – a surprising stat for a player with his speed and skill.
Last night was his second shorthanded goal in three games, which he picked up with a top-shelf roasting of Avalanche starter Craig Anderson on a backhand-forehand-backhand move.
“We try to be aggressive,” Giroux explained. “It was all ‘Richie’ [Richards]. He made a nice play, and I had a breakaway, and I was lucky to put it in. But I think when you’re aggressive, you’re going to have chances to score.
“It’s not like you’re looking for it, but when you’re aggressive, you’re going to get more chances.”
Richards said that aggression comes with the encouragement of assistant coach Craig Berube, who manages the Flyers’ penalty-killing portion of the game plan.
” ‘Chief’ [Berube] gives us free rein to go up the ice when we want to,” Richards said. “We catch a lot of teams complacent, and when we do that, it gives us a little bit of an opportunity.
“We watch video [of the opponent] every morning on the day of a game, make sure that we know what their breakout and what their tendencies are. If you can exploit that a little bit, you can get some opportunities and make them count.””
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