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Giroux takes charge

Giroux records 14 points leading the Flyers to second round

Monday, 04.23.2012 / 4:22 PM / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Giroux takes charge
Claude Giroux rose to the occasion right from his first shift Sunday, leading the Flyers to a series-clinching win over the Penguins.

PHILADELPHIA -- In his 15 years of professional coaching, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette never encountered what happened between him and Claude Giroux before Game 6 on Sunday.

"When the best player in the world comes up to you and tells you, 'I don't know who you're planning on starting tonight but I want that first shift,' that says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux right there," Laviolette said.

Giroux was out to set the tone for the game, and he did it in the biggest way possible. He delivered a big hit on Penguins captain Sidney Crosby six seconds after the puck dropped, and -- just 26 seconds later -- he turned a Steve Sullivan giveaway into the game's first goal.

It was an opening shift that shook the Wells Fargo Center and started the Flyers on their way to a series-clinching 4-2 win.

"About 10 seconds before the puck dropped, he came over and told me, 'Watch the first shift,'" Danny Briere said. "And what he did, I didn't even know what to say to him."

Briere wasn't the only teammate left in disbelief at the way Giroux set the tone and drove the Flyers to the victory.

In addition to scoring 32 seconds into the game, he set up the Flyers' next two goals as Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead 5:25 into the second period. He also had a team-high five shots, blocked two shots and won 14 faceoffs.

"[Giroux] is probably the biggest competitor that I have ever played with," Scott Hartnell said. "He wants to win so bad. I could tell right when I got to the rink this morning that he was fired up and ready to go. When you hit like that on the first shift, that's our best guy in here and he played a great game."

"He was possessed," Briere added. "He set the tone, as plain and simple as that. He set the tone for the whole game. His first shift he took charge. That was beautiful to see. Showed the sign of a great leader right off the bat there."

But, Sunday was not the only game in which Giroux showed leadership. He had six goals and eight assists in the series, and his 14 points were one shy of the team record for a playoff series. It's also the first time since Crosby in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs that any player has scored as many as 14 points in a series.

It's been a season-long coming-out party for Giroux, who emerged from the shadows of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter this season to evolve into one of the best players in the League. Carter and Richards were traded from the Flyers this summer.

In response to that vote of confidence, Giroux was second in the League with 65 assists and third with 93 points. He was front and center for the Flyers in all situations, centering the top power-play and penalty-kill unit, taking all the important faceoffs and being used up a goal or down a goal in the final minute of a game.

"Claude had a great game from start to finish," Laviolette said. "He made sure the Flyers moved on to the second round."

Talk before the series was focused on how the Flyers would match up with the Penguins' big three centers. By the end of it, it was the Penguins left wondering how they could stop Giroux.

"He's just the best player on the ice, but I don't think we were surprised by that," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Maybe two years ago we would be surprised by that. He's a guy we are well aware of and have a tremendous respect for."

Giroux said he didn't take it as a personal rivalry to out-play Malkin and Crosby, but it certainly happened.

Crosby had three goals and five assists in the series, but when his team needed him most, he was a minus-3 with three shots on net. Malkin also had three goals and five assists -- including the Pens' only goal in Game 6 -- but he had just one even-strength point in the first three games of the series and showed frustration at the way the Flyers took him out of his comfort zone.

"Anything you do you want to be the best at it," Giroux said. "If that's to score goals or do hits or block shots, whatever it is, I'm going to try to do it."

"There's no doubt he's in their class now," Briere said, "if anyone was doubting before.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 49 17 40 11 57
C. Giroux 48 16 36 6 52
M. Streit 49 7 28 -2 35
W. Simmonds 49 17 12 -5 29
B. Schenn 49 10 19 -3 29
S. Couturier 49 10 12 -1 22
M. Read 49 3 15 -9 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
M. Del Zotto 37 4 11 -7 15
V. Lecavalier 35 7 7 -10 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 9 12 6 .921 2.41
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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