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Returning star lifts Flyers

The Flyers’ Claude Giroux, returning from a concussion, scores against the Stars. He also has three assists.

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The Flyers’ Claude Giroux, returning from a concussion, scores against the Stars. He also has three assists.

DALLAS — Claude Giroux had a goal and three assists in his return from a concussion to lead the Flyers past the Stars 4-1 Wednesday.

Wayne Simmonds and Jaromir Jagr added power-play goals, and defenseman Andrej Meszaros connected at even strength for Philadelphia. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves as the Flyers improved to 10-2-1 over their past 13 games and 13-3-2 on the road to surpass the Bruins for the most points in the East.

Giroux entered Wednesday with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists), tying him with Toronto's Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Vancouver's Henrik Sedin for the league lead. That was despite missing four games with the concussion. The center was injured Dec. 10 against the Lightning when he was accidentally hit in the back of the head by Simmonds' knee.

Giroux said he was headache-free when he woke up Wednesday morning and knew he was 100 percent after skating in the morning. He absorbed big hits from Trevor Daley and Ott early in the game.

"I think it was important to get the first hit and see how you feel," he said. "I felt good after that, and it made me more comfortable."

Michael Ryder scored 56 seconds in for the Stars, who had won four of five. He fired a shot from high in the left circle that beat Bobrovsky to the glove side for his team-high 12th goal.

Giroux tied it at 8:30 of the first period when he swept a loose puck into an open net.

Simmonds put the Flyers in front for good about three minutes later, cashing in on his team's first power play with a deflection for his 10th goal of the season.

Jagr got his 11th goal 29 seconds into a power play, converting Giroux's return pass at 8:00 of the second period to extend the lead to 3-1.

Meszaros put the game away at 5:22 of the final period, skating in alone after a pass from Giroux and beating Bachman.

The game was heated at times with three misconducts issued and several skirmishes after whistles.

In addition, there was an incident after the first period in which Flyers coach Peter Laviolette shoved Ott in the back as the teams headed to their locker rooms.

Laviolette said he was upset by an Ott hit on Giroux during the period. But he tried to downplay the incident.

"I think it's hockey out on the ice," he said. "We just had a big win to move back into first place in the Eastern Conference. We should probably keep it about the game because it was such a big win."

Game highlights: Corey Crawford made 20 saves in his first start since Dec. 5 to lead the host Blackhawks past the Canadiens 5-1. He hadn't played since allowing three goals on 16 shots against the Coyotes in a 4-3 shootout loss. … Lauri Korpikoski scored the winner with 9:12 left as the visiting Coyotes beat the Hurricanes 4-3. Phoenix had lost its first 12 games this season (one in a shootout) when trailing entering the third.

Around the league: Four players are out indefinitely with concussions sustained Tuesday. Islanders goalie Al Montoya collided with Jets wing Evander Kane, who was called for interference. Islanders forward David Ullstrom crashed into the boards. Senators forward Jesse Winchester was checked into the boards by Sabres center Paul Gaustad. No penalty was called. Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger took a forearm from Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland. Engelland was not penalized but faces a disciplinary hearing, which hasn't been scheduled.

at Blackhawks 0 2 3 5
Canadiens 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesStalberg, Chi (hooking), 16:56.

Second Period1, Montreal, Kostitsyn 10 (Plekanec, Diaz), 5:35 (pp). 2, Chicago, Brunette 8 (Kane, Seabrook), 11:36. 3, Chicago, Sharp 18 (Hossa), 11:57. PenaltiesPlekanec, Mon (delay of game), 1:49; Frolik, Chi (goaltender interference), 4:42; Blunden, Mon (holding), 8:15; Kane, Chi (high-sticking), 18:39.

Third Period4, Chicago, Stalberg 7 (Bickell), 10:29. 5, Chicago, J.Toews 20 (Seabrook), 18:43 (en). 6, Chicago, Bickell 4 (Stalberg, Pirri), 19:48. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalMontreal 7-11-3—21. Chicago 7-12-9—28. Power-play opportunitiesMontreal 1 of 3; Chicago 0 of 2. GoaliesMontreal, Budaj 1-4-0 (27 shots-23 saves). Chicago, Crawford 13-7-2 (21-20). A22,081 (19,717).

Coyotes 1 1 2 4
at Hurricanes 1 2 0 3

First Period1, Phoenix, Whitney 12 (Ekman-Larsson, Hanzal), 2:18 (pp). 2, Carolina, Ruutu 11 (Ponikarovsky, Jokinen), 9:21. PenaltiesHarrison, Car (interference), 1:27; Morris, Pho (interference), 7:17; Gordon, Pho (hooking), 17:32.

Second Period3, Carolina, Nodl 1 (Spacek), 5:49. 4, Carolina, Tlusty 7 (Faulk, Harrison), 12:15. 5, Phoenix, O'Reilly 2 (Rundblad, Chipchura), 13:24. PenaltiesMorris, Pho (tripping), 7:52.

Third Period6, Phoenix, Klesla 1 (Korpikoski, Langkow), 4:20. 7, Phoenix, Korpikoski 9 (Morris, Whitney), 10:48. PenaltiesHanzal, Pho (slashing), 10:29; Jokinen, Car (cross-checking), 10:29. Shots on GoalPhoenix 8-6-5—19. Carolina 14-12-11—37. Power-play opportunitiesPhoenix 1 of 2; Carolina 0 of 3. GoaliesPhoenix, LaBarbera 3-3-0 (37 shots-34 saves). Carolina, Ward 10-14-5 (19-15). A15,848 (18,680).

Returning star lifts Flyers 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 11:19pm]
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