Claude Giroux has had his finest moments as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in a short amount of time.
He provided another one yesterday afternoon in leading the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the Penguins, which help them advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He set the tone early in the first period by hitting Sidney Crosby on the ice follow by scoring the first Flyers goal.
Giroux’s performance inspired Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette to say he is the best player in the world during yesterday’s postgame conference.
It’s the type of leadership Philadelphia sports fans crave, and it’s why Gioroux is beloved by them. He knows how to get it done. One can appreciate what he does by leading by example with his play. It’s why he is a fan favorite. It’s why he is successful.
Giroux’s postseason success goes back to 2010 when he garnered 10 goals and 11 assists, and that played a role in the Flyers getting to the Stanley Cup Finals that year. He backed up his postseason success with 25 goals and 51 assists in the 2011 regular season. This year, he has 25 goals and 51 assists.
It’s safe to say he is a star in the NHL even if the mainstream media refuse to acknowledge it. His playoff performance against the Penguins should back it up with his 5 goals and 6 assists. The Flyers do not advance without his play.
It is hard to score goals in the postseason. The action is faster, and playoff teams often sharpen up on defense. Plus, there is psychological mindset at work when it comes to scorers, especially when they struggle in the postseason to the point it becomes a lost cause.
If it was easy to score postseason goals, Marian Gaborik, Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and Brandon Dubinsky would not be having hard time doing so.
Giroux is different. He knows what he is doing when he is out on the ice. He finds a way to make it happen by creating many scoring chances for himself. He will find a way to crash into the net just to get the puck through the goaltender. He has a good vision for the puck, which helps his linemates be in a position to score.
He is also good on defense, and he demonstrated that by shutting down Crosby in this entire series.
When a player is willing to do both, he garners respect among his teammates and his coaches. It’s why Kimmo Timonen felt the need to say Giroux is the Flyers’ engine after talking to the media about his teammate’s performance.
If Giroux continues to play at the level he is playing in the postseason, it won’t be long until he becomes the best athlete to currently play in Philadelphia. That’s what happens when he does his thing in the playoffs.
It’s amazing he is overlooked by the national media when one looks at his work. He may not be as flashy as Crosby or be as chrematistic as Alexander Ovechkin, but he produces, especially in the playoffs. While obscure players stand out more in scoring postseason goals, it should not diminish this theory that stars must play like stars in the second season for a team to win a championship. It’s not a coincidence Flyers have a shot to win the Stanley Cup based on his play.
Believe it or not, Giroux still have his best hockey days ahead of him being that he is 24 years old. It won’t be long until he starts scoring 40 goals a year.
The Flyers have him for several more years, so they can look for more heroics out of him every year. It’s why the Flyers will always have a chance to win the Stanley Cup every year.
The Flyers have been looking for a star that can help them achieve their objective of winning the Stanley Cup for a long time. They were hoping stars such as Eric Lindros, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter would be the guys that would help them, but it never happened. They put good numbers, but in the playoffs, they seem to wilt rather than rise to the occasion.
Giroux is different. He flourishes in big games, and he will pay the price to win a championship whether it’s sacrificing his scoring power to play defense or passing the puck to a linemate. He does a great job of leading by example.
It’s why one day he will be the captain of the Flyers and why he will hoist the Stanley Cup as a Flyer.