Claude Giroux has nine goals and nine assists in his last 11 games. He scored two goals and added an assist in the Flyers 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)
In 83 minutes time between Sunday's 5-4 overtime win and Wednesday's 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals, the Flyers dominated play with an outrageous amount of shots on Washington goaltending. In every facet of the game, the Flyers controlled the Capitals.
During that, one Flyer stood out above the rest. Claude Giroux took his already elevated game and took it to another level.
In his last 11 games, Giroux has nine goals and nine assists. On Wednesday night, Giroux scored two goals and added an assist for the second straight game, amount to six points total in the home-and-home against the Capitals.
Joining Giroux was linemate Jake Voracek, who also scored twice on Wednesday night to add to his three-point game on Sunday.
"When they are going, everybody follows," goalie Steve Mason said. "We have to have that on a consistent basis moving forward because every game is so important."
"Those are our best players," Michael Raffl said. "When they have a good night, you see it in the whole team, everybody responding to it and trying to play up to their level."
For the rest of the Flyers, including Mason, the first two periods were the most dominant of the season for the Flyers. After rallying for a win on Sunday, the Flyers carried the momentum straight into Wednesday's game. Through 40 minutes on Wednesday, the Flyers led, 4-1, and were out-shooting the Capitals, 23-8.
Even the newest Flyer Andrew MacDonald managed to get in on things with his first point, an assist on Raffl's second-period goal. He also blocked three shots - tops on the team in Wednesday night's win - and added three hits while being plus-2 in 17:41 of ice time.
Holding what certainly felt like a comfortable three-goal lead after two periods, the Flyers had out-scored the Capitals, 8-3, and out-shot them, 53-20.
"It was good hockey," head coach Craig Berube said. "We were intense, we were quick, we were on things,” Berube said. “We had everybody going."
The third period was a different story.
The Capitals out-shot the Flyers, 17-7. Three power-play chances allowed the Capitals to cut the Flyers lead to one twice. The Flyers managed two goals of their own in the third - one into an empty net by Steve Downie.
"They didn’t play the way they wanted the first two periods and we were and that third period they became aggressive and sat back a bit," Giroux said. "When we get a lead like that, we’ve got to keep it.
"The first two periods we were playing well and winning battles and we got away from it. We need to play 60 minutes."
With the way the first two periods played out, the Flyers were on their way to the best 60-minute effort of the season. The final 20 minutes brought on familiar questioning of the Flyers capabilities to win.
There was something different about this. It didn't feel like any one player could be responsible for the Flyers lacking play in the third period. There were no defensive lapses. The penalties were few and far between, but costly. It seemed like in every spot something could go wrong, something did.
"We stopped attacking, getting into the offensive zone, getting pucks on net, making plays," Berube said. "We're talking about being a more consistent hockey team. Not getting too high, not getting too low, just come out and play our game for 60 minutes."
For as big a negative as the third period was, there was a huge positive. This had all the makings of a playoff game and potential playoff matchup. The Flyers had a blueprint for the perfect 60-minute effort. They strayed from it in the third period.
Despite coming up 20 minutes short of that, the Flyers did get the two points for a win to hold second place in the Metropolitan Division and secure another win - their seventh in the last eight games.
The month of March is off to a smashing start. The rest of the month only gets harder as the Flyers face the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins twice each. They also see a host of Western Conference teams. With the blueprint in place, it will take a similar style of play from the Flyers to survive that stretch.
The 40-minute effort won't cut it much longer. Off the ice, the Flyers know that. On the ice, the Flyers need to show it.
Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.