Philly Phaithful
Better With Popcorn

Giroux has the scoring title in his sights

The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the National Hockey League.

With star players ranging across every decade that the club has been in existence, the organization has had its fair share of players win a varying degree of individual awards.

However, there is one glaring absence.

No member of the Flyers has ever won the Art Ross trophy, the award for the league’s leading scorer in a single season.

With the emergence of superstar forward, Claude Giroux, there is a chance that, that may no longer be the case following this year.

Giroux currently has 84 points this season, which has him tied with Steven Stamkos for the second most amongst any other player in the league.

The only player ahead of them is Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins who leads the league with 88 points.

On Sunday afternoon, Giroux and Malkin went head-to-head when the Penguins and Flyers met in the nationally televised NBC Game of the Week.

All season, the two players have been burning up score sheets.

Sunday was no different.

In the second period, Malkin put the Penguins up by two when he powered out from behind the Philadelphia goal and slipped a shot into the far-side corner.

The goal was his 41st of the season and his third in as many games.

Giroux managed to make a splash himself.

With the Flyers trailing by two heading into the third, Giroux registered a pair of primary assists, including a beautiful slap pass to Scott Hartnell that helped power a Flyers comeback of epic proportions.

The two assists allowed Giroux to regain the league lead in helpers at 58.

At this point, he still has a good shot at capturing the league scoring title. Of course it won’t be easy, but given his propensity for scoring there is no reason any one should count him out of the race just yet.

Regardless, Giroux’s production has been a thrilling development.

In hindsight, it seems like it was an inevitability.

In reality, it’s an impressive gamble given the fact that the Flyers went through sweeping changes this past offseason that could have potentially crippled the young player by putting too much pressure on his shoulders.

Instead, he answered the call by leading the team in scoring for a second year in-a-row and eclipsed his career highs in all three offensive statistical categories for the third straight season.

Considering that he missed five games earlier this season due to a concussion, it’s any one’s guess as to what Giroux could have done with the extra games.

He still has ten games left in the year to add to his total and the possibility of registering 100 points starts to become a conversation piece.

Giroux would be the first Flyers player to score at least 100 points in a single season since Eric Lindros recorded 115 points in 1995-96.

Of course, it would take a healthy amount of production that would be a tall order considering how many games are remaining. This is especially true when taking into account how defensively focused the games in March have been.

While it may be a long shot, it is still by all accounts a mathematical possibility.

As any one who has watched Giroux over the last few seasons knows the 23-year old has the tendency to make the seemingly impossible, possible.

With the Art Ross and triple digit point total aside, Giroux doesn’t need awards or statistical achievements to validate the kind of player he has become.

He has without a doubt put himself into the conversation as being one of the elite performers in the NHL.

On the Flyers front, he is by-and-far the best player on the team. Had he not contributed the way he has this season, the team probably isn’t in the thick of an Atlantic Division race that will seemingly be going down until the final days of the season.

Not to mention that they probably wouldn't be the NHL's highest scoring team.

While he doesn’t need the accolades, he certainly deserves them.

--

Follow me on Twitter (@mattbrigidi) and make sure to "like" The Checking Line-Flyers Edition on Facebook to stay up to the minute with all the latest team news and notes.

Feel free to shoot me an email: mattbrigidi@thecheckingline.com