Is it possible that Flyers' captain Claude Giroux is underrated?
Sure, he is known around the league of one of the most talented playmakers and on-ice leaders in the game. But ask his teammates about him. They still can't believe how good he is.
"He's been a tremendous leader as of late," Matt Read said, referring to the Flyers' recent stretch of 10-2-1 hockey. "He's the hardest working guy everywhere you go, he's the first one here every day. In his mind it's win win win at all costs, any mistakes we hear it on the bench from him. He expects the best from everybody."
Giroux entered the Flyers' top 20 all-time scoring list with his game-winning goal Tuesday night against the Blackhawks. And it was fitting. The goal was among the most incredible feats of his career.
"We were sitting on the bench and all yelling '10 seconds,'" Read said. "You're watching and not expecting too much. What a great shot that was. It's an emotional win for us after having a great weekend (winning two against Pittsburgh)."
"It seems like he finds a way to get shots through the hole sometimes," Scott Hartnell said. "He fired a rocket there and it went in."
The goal against Chicago almost never happened. In fact, Giroux didn't even hit the ice for that final shift until there were less than 20 seconds left in overtime.
"I knew there wasn't very much left after the faceoff," Flyers head coach Craig Berube said. "I was ready to pull my lineup card out for the shootout. He's a determined guy and obviously he felt he had enough time to get down there and take the shot and it was a great shot."
Giroux, with a goal and an assist on one of Hartnell's two goals Tuesday, has now posted 13 points in the Flyers' last eight games. And when he scores, Philadelphia not only puts together wins, they put together wins against top-shelf teams like the Penguins and Blackhawks.
"You can just tell, the passion in his voice he wants it more than ever right now," Read said. "It's fun to be around and witness as a teammate. He's playing good right now and hopefully our team can rally around him."
The Flyers play their game and focus on the task at hand. They have come together as a team and have held on to a playoff spot in the jam-packed Metropolitan Division since before the Olympic break.But sometimes, the guys can't help but get dazzled by Giroux's exploits on the ice.
"He's that skilled," Sean Couturier said. "He finds a way to make those nice plays, there's a reason why he's one of the best in the league this year."
"It's fun to watch," Read added. "He's being a true leader and thats what we need."