Player of the Week | Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux finished 2017-18 strong earning his first NHL career regular-season hat trick while setting a career high in points as his club punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
April 2-8, 2018
5-2–7 over 3 GP
Second in week's league scoring
Finished season on 10-game point streak
First NHL regular-season hat trick
First 100+ point NHL season
Claude Giroux couldn't have finished his season on a higher note.
As if closing out a 5-0 blanking of the New York Rangers to clinch a playoff spot wasn't sweet enough, the Philadelphia Flyers' captain managed to net a a few career firsts while ending 2017-18 on a 10-game point streak.
Playoff Spot: CLINCHED. ✅ pic.twitter.com/BgeggYVtfd— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 7, 2018
Though the week started with a 5-4 loss on the road to the New York Islanders Tuesday, Giroux picked up a goal and assist to extend his own personal point streak as the Flyers' eight-game point streak came to an end.
"I don't think we played well tonight, and that's the bottom line. We've gone on a stretch here that's been a [heck] of a run in terms of getting points each night. We didn't do it tonight, so we've got to have a quick reset tomorrow and get back at it two nights from now," said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol postgame to reporters.
With two games left to keep their playoff dreams alive, the Flyers headed back to Wells Fargo Center to close out their regular season, starting with a Thursday night matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Giroux had another two-point night as he earned the game's first star amid "M-V-P" chants – but the Flyers captain remained humble.
"I think everyone is doing their job, everybody is doing what they're best at," Giroux said to reporters postgame. "When everybody does that, we get wins. We're all on the same page here, guys want to play for each other. As nerve-wracking as the game was tonight, we had a great time doing it."
Before the game, Giroux was awarded his fifth Bobby Clarke Trophy for being voted as the teams' most valuable player. The win marked a franchise record as he surpassed Eric Lindros (four) for the most since the award's inception in 1985.
Then it all came down to the final game of the season for the orange and black.
With the New York Rangers in town Saturday, the Flyers needed just one point to clinch a postseason spot, and they earned it in style with a 5-0 victory.
Giroux lit the lamp three times to earn his first NHL career regular-season hat trick, while teammate Brian Elliott turned aside 17 shots for his first shutout of the season.
Philly fans must have turned the volume up a notch, as Giroux most definitely heard the rallying cries from the stands this time around.
"It was hard to miss," he said of the downpour of MVP chants. "They [the fans] were great tonight, they gave us a boost. I think overall, we played a solid game. We played the way we wanted to. It's great to be in the playoffs."
"He was dialed in," Hakstol said postgame. "You could tell and see that all the way through. We've seen that over the entire stretch run here. … [Giroux] is our captain and leader for us. He went out and did the job. He led the way for and along with everyone else to do their job."
Finishing the outing with 102 points to his name meant Giroux not only reached 100 points for the first time in his NHL career, but surpassed the mark to cement a new career-high in the category. His 34 goals and 68 assists also set personal bests for an NHL season.
Giroux also finished 2017-18 second in league scoring, just six points behind repeat Art Ross Trophy winner, Connor McDavid (108), while his 68 assists led the league in the category alongside Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler. His standout campaign was also marked by his fifth NHL All-Star appearance earlier this year in Tampa Bay.
The Flyers will have no easy task before them in a first round matchup against the defending Stanley Cup champions and rival Pittsburgh Penguins, who are in search of a three-peat.
Said Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford, "We have a chance to make history. If you don't know that, you've been living on another planet."
It may bode well for the Flyers that their captain's first and only other hat trick came in a a first round matchup against the Penguins back in the 2011-12 postseason – a series that Philadelphia won in six games.
Puck drop on Game 1 of their Eastern Conference matchup goes April 11 at PPG Paints Arena.