Is Flyers Claude Giroux NHL’s Best?
Claude Giroux has emerged not only as the offensive catalyst for the Philadelphia Flyers, but he has also become the club's unquestioned leader.
And he just might be the NHL's biggest star right now.
He was the biggest star in a star-studded showdown, breaking the Flyers' franchise playoff record with 14 points in a single series leading the team beat to a 5-1 to win, taking the series 4-games-to-2.
"I don't know who you're planning on starting today," Giroux told Peter Laviolette before the Flyers clinching game six win on Sunday. "But I want to be out there on that first shift."
From fighting Sidney Crosby in game four, to scoring 14 points in six games, and scoring a goal 32-seconds into the game six win, Giroux has become a superstar in both Philadelphia and in the NHL.
"He made sure the Flyers moved onto the second round," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Along with every other guy in that locker room. But it does have to be led somewhere. When your best player makes a statement like that, that's exactly what you need."
It's been a season of statements for Giroux, who has become the unquestioned leader for the post-Pronger Flyers. The 24-year-old center posted 14 points in six games against the Penguins and he finished the regular season with 93 points in 77 contests -making his case for league MVP.
Nationally, Giroux is gaining steam as the best player in the league as well.
ESPN's Scott Burnside made this statement in his latest column over at ESPN.com; Giroux making case as NHL's best.
In other words, he out shined Crosby and Malkin in the one NHL series that is getting national attention. In the NHL wherever Crosby goes, so does the sports world and in this series it was Giroux that sports fans left talking about.
Even if you only watched game six, you saw Giroux level Crosby with a hit and then scored his sixth goal of the playoffs just 32 seconds into the match to set the tone and energize the entire team and building.
In a series where the team that scored first hasn't won a game yet, Giroux made sure he not only scored first, but made sure that it was going to hold up.
Former Penguin and current Flyers star Jaromir Jagr me after the game; "I thought it felt like a game seven, and that we couldn't lose at home,"
Giroux made sure losing at home wasn't an option.
"He's our top guy, he's excellent and it's no surprise to me and shouldn't be a surprise to anybody."
Jagr keep in mind played with Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh and was always regarded as the second-best, so he knows what its like to play in the shadow of other stars. But in this series, Giroux stepped out of the shadow and become a star for all to see.
Flyers fans and NHL fans, there is a new star and he's shining bright, he is right here wearing Orange and Black. so step aside Crosy, Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin and make way his name is Claude Giroux.