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NHL.com: Giroux leading the pack

This season's Hart race could be one for the ages

Monday, 01.9.2012 / 5:55 PM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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NHL.com: Giroux leading the pack
The 2011-12 MVP race is a real dogfight at season\'s mid-point.
The 2011-12 season reaches its mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But, NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

The halfway point of the season is here and there are plenty of potential candidates for the Hart Trophy as the League's MVP for the 2011-12 season. But, of course, only one winner and two runner-ups are allowed, so some difficult choices had to be made. They are...
Winner
 
Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 18 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 48
SOG: 101 | +/-: 5
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia -- He was NHL.com's leading candidate for the Hart Trophy at the quarter-mark of the season and the Flyers' Mr. Everything has done nothing to lose his status. Giroux has been the League's most complete player this season. He entered the week with 48 points, one fewer than League leader Henrik Sedin. But, he has played in only 36 games while Sedin was set to play in his 43rd game on Monday night. Giroux has scored 18 goals and dished out 30 assists. He's averaging 1.33 points per game and is on pace for 98 points this season.
 
Giroux centers the most productive line on one of the League's most productive teams, and is a major reason why Jaromir Jagr (31 points) had a strong first half in his first NHL season since 2007-08. Scott Hartnell also has 37 points -- largely because he plays with Giroux, who missed four games with a concussion but hasn't missed a beat all season. He is also eighth among forwards in ice time per game (21:29) and he plays in all situations for coach Peter Laviolette.
 
Runner-ups
 
Jonathan Toews, Chicago -- He has 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points through 42 games. But, it's usually not about points or flash with Toews, even though he is a point-per-game guy and he plays on one of the League's flashiest teams. He does so much more for the Blackhawks than just score. For instance, he is winning better than 61 percent of his faceoffs this season. He is averaging more than 21 minutes per game, and has played more than 23 minutes in five of the past six games. Oh, and then there are those points. Toews has at least one in 25 games this season, including 11 games with at least two. He had a five-point game at Anaheim on Nov. 25. The Blackhawks entered Monday with 53 points, two fewer than the Western Conference-leading Canucks.
 
Phil Kessel, Toronto -- Kessel went through a six-game drought without a goal at the beginning of the second quarter, but he has otherwise been as consistent as anybody. He has 48 points on 24 goals and 24 assists through 41 games. His 48 points were tied with Giroux for second in the League entering play on Monday. Kessel is currently on a four-game goal-scoring streak and he has scored in 20 of his 41 games this season. Only five of his 24 goals have come with a man-advantage. He has scored the first goal for Toronto four times and the winning goal four times. He's been on the ice for 64 of the Leafs' goals-for and only 38 of their goals-against. Kessel, who also averages close to 20 minutes per game, has been a major reason why the Leafs have been good at home (11-5-4). He has 17 goals and 28 points in 20 home games.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Senior Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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