Claude Giroux's opening shift of Game 6 on Sunday had Flyers' fans reminiscing of "The Shift" inspired by then Captain Mike Richards in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. Not only did Giroux send a physical statement by blasting the Pens C Sidney Crosby, he then ripped a puck off the post and in the net to let Fleury know that it was Game 5 no more.
Now it is coming out in the media that Giroux asked Coach Peter Laviolette to put him on the ice for the shift and he told teammates to watch him. Clearly, Claude Giroux was looking to change the momentum of the series. And, he did just that. The first 30 seconds gave the Flyers the lead and sent a clear message that the Flyers were going to close out this series. The comeback was over for the Pens. It inspired the fans and his team. The Flyers played the best defensive game of the series. While Pittsburgh outshot them and Bryzgalov was good, when the game was close the Pens were unable to muster grade "A" scoring chances.
Read more about Giroux's leadership
Kimmo Timonen mentioned this post game: a clear indication of the Flyers' dedication in this game was shot blocking. They blocked 40 shots in Game 6. Their offensive and defensive structure was outstanding. They showed great focus and energy after losing two straight to the dangerous Penguins. It was an impressive display of raising the level of your game when you need it the most. It would have been real easy for the Flyers to play a nervous, hesitant game.
Back to Giroux... The Flyers assistant captain has stepped up as an inspirational leader for his team on the ice. Despite being small by NHL standards Giroux brings a physical game to bigger players. In this way I think he is similar to Crosby; both are very good at getting low, using their legs and body to maintain puck control.
What I liked most about Giroux's Game 6 performance is how he bounced back after the frustration of Game 5. Giroux was shown slamming his stick in frustration at the end of the game. Pittsburgh had to being thinking that they finally got to him. I guess not. It just refueled his determination.
Giroux's efforts in Game 6 are a shining example of the resilience, emotional toughness, and belief that are needed to win a Cup. There is a long way to go, but I would bet Flyers' nation is feeling really good about their frontman. He is showing the passion and willingness to impact the momentum of game like many of the greats before him.