Thursday, May 01, 2014

Giroux named Hart Trophy finalist

Less than 12 hours after a season-ending defeat to the New York Rangers in a deciding Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, Flyers fans received a dose of good news.

Claude Giroux has been named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.

He'll join Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf in competing for the honor, with the winner announced June 24 in Las Vegas.

Despite a well-documented glacial start to the season which has just passed, Giroux finished strongly, ending up with 28 goals along with team-highs of 58 assists, 86 points, power-play points (37) and game-winning goals (7).

The 26-year-old Franco-Ontarian also placed third in the NHL scoring race, with only Crosby (104) and Getzlaf (87) ranking higher. It was a stunning turnaround, as Giroux recorded only seven assists with no goals in the season's first 15 games, then roared back with all of his tallies and 51 helpers over the remaining 67 contests.

His longest streak of contribution was a nine-game run from December 11-30, during which he compiled six goals and 11 assists, then a strong March netted him Third Star honors from the NHL.

Should Giroux win, he'll be the first Flyer to be honored since Eric Lindros in 1995. The only other member of the franchise to win the Hart was Bobby Clarke, who did so three times (1973, 1975-76).  Pelle Lindbergh (3rd, 1985) and Bernie Parent (2nd, 1974) were the other two members to be finalists.

If you recall, Giroux finshed fourth in Hart voting in the 2011-12 season, in which he recorded a career-high 93 points (28G, 65A).

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