Flyers vs. Penguins ECQF Game 6: Giroux OvertakesThe Stage in 5-1 Win, Series
There comes a time for any great player when they find the stage. The stage will be littered with other great players, storylines, history, and much more.
The great players elevate. They show their worth and add notches to their belt.
It’s not because they are just good, it’s because they’re great. A good player can play well on the stage – a great player makes the stage his own.
Game 6 in Philadelphia was a stage, just like the first round series between the cross-state rivals. Flyers forward Claude Giroux made it his.
He set a franchise record for points in a playoff series, with 14. He also extended his lead as the top scorer in the playoffs. If the Conn Smythe Trophy were given away after the first round, Giroux would most likely hoist it.
After being shown shattering his stick following Game 5 in Pittsburgh, he looked frustrated. After talking to the media the next day, he seemed focused.
In the first minute of Sunday’s series-clinching 5-1 win, he sent the message; this series was over.
The Penguins won the opening faceoff, and Giroux delivered a crushing check to Sidney Crosby at the blue line. Moments later, he dangled and rifled a shot past Marc Andre Fleury.
Pittsburgh had momentum after Game 5. Giroux wiped all that momentum away in 32 seconds.
After the game, Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette said that his first line center told him he wanted the first shift. Then, he told his teammates to watch it. Now, everyone knows why.
When it was all said and done, the Flyers exorcised their Pittsburgh playoff demons and moved on to the second round. Anyone who watched the series would make no bones about it; Giroux was the MVP of the series.
What was even more impressive is that it was a series that contained the game’s greatest player and this year’s likely Hart Trophy winner.
When the brightest lights are on, great ones elevate their game. Stars are stars not just because of talent, but because of their will to show they’re the best.
Winning the first round series wasn’t just about the Flyers winning to Giroux. It was about proving his worth and staking his claim to the spotlight. If he did that, the Flyers wins would come anyway.
This is a Flyers team that has no captain. Chris Pronger is hurt and there’s no one with a C on the sweater.
However, a great player leads by example. And what’s even more is that the greatness brings everyone else to another level. Only a great player can pull a team behind him. Giroux did just that in the beginning of Game 6.
Here he is, a 24-year-old young man from Hearst, Ontario. In his third full season, he’s setting records. He’s opening eyes to everyone across the hockey world who hasn’t seen his fantastic play night in, night out.
He just outplayed Crosby, Malkin, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That stage? It’s all his.
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