Better With Popcorn

Flyers Vs. Penguins ECQF Game 2: It's Official; Claude Giroux is a Superstar

It’s been obvious for a little while now, but regardless, it still needs to be said. Claude Giroux is a superstar.

Following a six-point night in the Philadelphia Flyers epic come-from-behind victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, it is now undeniable that the 24-year old native of Hearst, Ontario is officially amongst the league’s elite.

While this fact may have been obvious to fans of the Flyers, that same thought process is now cemented into the collective minds of fans league-wide. It’s one thing to be the best player on your team, but a completely other to be one of the best players in the world.

Following Friday night, no body can dispute that Giroux isn’t either.

Coming into this year, a lot of pressure was put on his shoulders. After leading the team in points with 76 in the 2010-11 regular season and 12 points in 11 games in the postseason, the Flyers decided they could build the team around him, trade two of their key players and go on to not miss a beat.

Ultimately the franchise proved to have made the right decision, because Giroux continued where he picked up from last year and once again led the Flyers in points in addition to finishing third in the entire league in total scoring.

Now it seems he plans on carrying over that same success to the postseason, as well.

His six points on Friday night set a new Flyers franchise record for points in a playoff game. In addition, Giroux jumped from 25th to 18th on the Flyers all-time playoff-scoring list.  He now has 16 goals and 28 points for 44 points in 42 career playoff games, which makes him (at this point) just the fifth Flyer to average more than a point-per-game in the playoffs over his career, joining Danny Briere (31-30-61 in 59 games), Eric Lindros (24-33-57 in 50 games), Ken Linseman (11-42-53 in 41 games) and Peter Forsberg (4G, 4A in 6 games). 

But his colossal night expands beyond the walls of the Philadelphia Flyers. It puts him center stage in the hockey world.

Playing against one of the league’s marquee franchises, Giroux had one of the most explosive nights in playoff history. In a more concise picture, he took over Game 2 and single handedly kept the Flyers alive.

With the team down 2-0, it was Giroux who generated his own shorthanded breakaway that lead to Max Talbot’s goal. With the team down 3-1, it was Giroux who scored back-to-back special team’s goals to pull the score even at three. With the game tied, it was Giroux who registered an assist on Jaromir Jagr’s game-winning goal.

And then if all that wasn’t enough, he took a page out of Lindros’ book (a’la the ’97 Eastern Conference Finals) by stealing a puck and finishing off the hat trick with an empty net goal.

Not a bad night, eh?

This all happened on a nationally televised broadcast, against two of the biggest names in the game today. Facing Sidney Crosby, the league’s golden boy and Evgeni Malkin, the shoe-in favorite for the Hart, Giroux managed to go above-and-beyond any thing and everything they did to finish the night as the best player on the ice.

Like it or not, these are the kinds of things people point to when anointing the ‘chosen ones;’ stepping up in the biggest games, at the biggest times in the biggest moments.

It’s something Giroux has been doing for a while and now he has a gift-wrapped moment to point to that everyone had a chance to see.

All season long he has wowed fans and players alike with his ability to do whatever he wants with the puck. Precise passing, sick dangles and mind-blowing breakaway dekes; Giroux has done it all and has continually made it look like a video game.

His jersey was officially announced as the highest selling in the NHL this season and his six-point night only further acts as evidence why.

While fans in Philadelphia may have known it for the last three years, it’s now official league-wide; Claude Giroux is one of the best players in the world. 

 

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