Seven games to go in the NHL regular season and Claude Giroux still has a chance to catch Pittsburghs Evgeni Malkin for the scoring title.
Its a long shot though, given Malkin has 95 points nine more than Giroux. But its a goal, too.
Its something I really dont control and what I control is how I play and I do my best to help the team win, Giroux said.
If Im scoring goals, Im helping the team win. Obviously, Im gonna try to catch him, but its not my main focus right now.
On Monday, Tampa Bays Steven Stamkos is in town. He is just a point ahead of Giroux, who is third overall in the league.
Its pretty cool to be up there and I feel lucky to be up there in the standings and top scorers, but its not just about me its about my linemates, too, Giroux said.
As is with Scott Hartnell, Giroux is having a career season with new highs in goals (27), assists (59) and points (86).
He talked in training camp about raising the level of his game and a visible team leader, especially with the departures of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Giroux has done all that and more and is probably a lock to win the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.
Coach Peter Laviolette isnt surprised because last season marked Girouxs first big breakout year when he had 25 goals and 76 points.
Laviolette said hes not surprised that Giroux is in contention to win the Art Ross.
His playoffs and where he left off last year, I dont think it was a stretch that he would come in and continue to develop and grow offensively in the league, Laviolette said.
Hes a tremendously talented person with a competitive nature to him. It really drives his success, I think. I dont think we were thinking he could not be the player he has been this year.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org