Former Flyers captain Claude Giroux contributes to Florida win again

Claude Giroux continued his passing artistry on Sunday for his new team, the Florida Panthers.

The former Flyers captain had two more assists as the Panthers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 5-3, to become the first team to earn a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

“There’s a lot of hockey left, but let’s enjoy the moment,” Florida coach Andrew Brunette told reporters after the Panthers improved to 48-15-6. “They deserve every ounce of credit they get.”

Giroux, 34, has been a big contributor since joining the Panthers last month, but far from the main play for Florida, which leads the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with 102 points. The Panthers set a franchise record with their 48th win on Sunday.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored a goal and set a Florida single-season record with 97th points (24 goals, 73 assists), and Anthony Duclair had his 27th and 28th goals.

The Panthers are 6-1 since Giroux joined them, and he has seven points — all assists — and a plus-5 rating in those seven games. Overall, he has 49 points (18-31) in 64 games with the Flyers and Florida this season.

Giroux is part of a powerful Florida team that has six players with more than 20 goals. The Flyers have such a player, Cam Atkinson (23).

The Panthers acquired Giroux, prospects German Rubtsov and Connor Bunnaman and a 2024 fifth-round pick for Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick.

Sunday night against the New York Rangers, Tippett scored his first goal in eight games with the Flyers.

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