Claude Giroux had his coach call him the best player in the world. Giroux needed one shift to prove that claim is more than hometown hype.
Giroux wrapped up a dominant series with a goal and two assists, Ilya Bryzgalov had his first outstanding effort in net and the Flyers beat the 108-point Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-1, yesterday in Philadelphia to win their Eastern Conference opening-round series in six games.
"G is a very special player," Bryzgalov said. "There's not very many players like that in the world."
Giroux strapped the Flyers to his 24-year-old back and gave them an opening shift to remember by slamming Crosby to the ice and then scoring the first goal. In a series in which no lead was safe, the Flyers scored the first three goals and made it stand behind stout defense and stellar play out of Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov allowed 20 goals in the first five games. He settled down in Game 6 and gave up only Evgeni Malkin's goal in the second period.
Bryzgalov was at last the shutdown goalie the Flyers expected when they gave him $51 million to steady one of Philadelphia's weak links. He outplayed Fleury and helped the Flyers advance to the conference semifinals for the third straight season.
"We needed to play perfect hockey to stay in this series, to win this series, and we didn't get the kind of start we needed today," Crosby said. "We felt like we could get it back to Pittsburgh, and now we have some time to think about why we didn't."
Bruins force Game 7 Tyler Seguin scored at 3:17 of overtime, Tim Thomas made 36 saves, and Boston tied the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at three games apiece with a 4-3 win over host Washington. The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins never trailed, but needed a stolen pass and a deft bit of skating to finally get the deciding goal and avoid being eliminated by the seventh-seeded Capitals. Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.
In overtime, David Krejci intercepted a pass by Nicklas Backstrom and sent the puck to Milan Lucic, who passed ahead to Seguin. Seguin, who entered the game without a point in the series, veered slightly to his right to draw goaltender Braden Holtby from the net, then lifted a shot past the rookie to win it.
Kings oust Canucks
Jarret Stoll beat Cory Schneider with a wrist shot at 4:27 of overtime to give the visiting Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over Vancouver, knocking out the top-seeded Canucks in five games in the Western Conference first-round series. Brad Richardson tied it for the Kings at 3:21 of the third period, and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves. The Kings will play the St. Louis Blues in the second round.