Best of NHL Playoffs for April 22: Claude Giroux has Flyers moving on

Claude Giroux shakes hands with Sidney Crosby after the Flyers eliminated the Penguins on Sunday. (Getty)

Following Philadelphia's 5-1 win on Sunday, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told the following story about a pre-game meeting he had with Claude Giroux.

"Not only leadership but his game tonight was monstrous, it really was," said Laviollete. "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."

The statement that jumps out isn't that Giroux wanted to start the game, but that Laviollete casually dropped in the "best player in the world" tag.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to go that far regarding Giroux (he's certainly proven to be one of the best players) but he absolutely came away with the upper hand against Sidney Crosby during their opening round matchup. Especially on Sunday. And it all started with the first shift that Giroux demanded to be on the ice for. He delivered the booming hit on Crosby right off the draw, then followed it up with the game's first goal all in the first 32 seconds.

Best player in the league during the first round of the 2012 playoffs? Well, there's really not much of an argument against that. Best player in the world overall? Not quite sure about that at the moment.

This will probably be a real discussion for a while, especially as we all become prisoners of the moment and put every players reputation on a single playoff series or postseason run. But there are still some pretty darn good players across the league with impressive resumes that can still make a claim on that title.

As for the rest of the NHL on a rather exciting day of hockey...

BestStat

Well, it probably isn't the best of anything if you're a Vancouver Canucks fan, but it might say quite a bit about the NHL right now. Of the seven Presidents' Trophy winners since the lockout only three have managed to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

On Sunday night with their 2-1 loss to the Kings, the Canucks became the fourth team since the start of the 2005-06 season to finish the season with the best record in the league and then get eliminated immediately in the playoffs. That is pretty amazing.

More on the the Canucks and the recent failures of the Presidents' Trophy winners by clicking here.

BestSave

The Boston Bruins pushed their series with Washington to a seventh game thanks to their overtime win on Sunday.

They might be done right now if it weren't for this stick save along the goal line by goalie Tim Thomas midway through the second period.



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CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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