Maple Leafs vs. Flyers: How Claude Giroux Will Carry Philadelphia to Victory

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Maple Leafs vs. Flyers: How Claude Giroux Will Carry Philadelphia to Victory
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Claude Giroux looks to be one of the game stars versus Toronto.

Center Claude Giroux may wind up being the first star of the 2013-14 season opener between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers on October 2.

Giroux has a knack for performing well in season openers, and this game should be no different. 

Over his last four games to kick off a season, Giroux has scored a goal in three of them.  Against Toronto, Giroux has 16 points—five goals and 11 assists—in 17 games.

Graig Abel/Getty Images
Giroux (right) has a good history against the Maple Leafs.

It is clear that Giroux likes playing against the Maple Leafs.  It is also evident that the Flyers captain is capable of solid starts to the season.

Combine those two factors and there is little reason to assume he will be kept off the scoring sheet during the game.

Yet Giroux is poised to do much more than tally a point against Toronto.  He will start off the season with a compliment of players that should help him get the most out of opening night.  Linemates Scott Hartnell and Jake Voracek are returning 100 percent, which will provide a boost to Giroux's potential.

The offseason additions of Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit should also help.

This point is argued by Flyers beat writer Sam Carchidi, who feels that Giroux is poised to have a tremendous season in 2013-14.  He writes:

Giroux was called the "best player in the world" by Peter Laviolette two seasons ago, and the coach isn't backing off from that statement. Now that both of his linemates are healthy, Giroux should be a dominating player.

Giroux will hope to live up to those expectations against a Maple Leafs team that gave up 133 goals last season—18th in the league overall.

One lofty prediction from @FlyGoalScoredBy predicts that Giroux could post eight goals against Toronto.

That will not happen obviously, but it is safe to assume that Giroux should be the player to watch during the game.  Two goals and an assist seems reasonable for the 25-year-old center.

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With those accolades and tallies, it is very likely that Giroux finds himself as the No. 1 star versus the Maple Leafs.

Even more important will be the solid start for the Flyers, who began the 2012-13 season 0-3 and never really recovered afterwards.  If Giroux can spark Philadelphia in their season opener, good things should unquestionably follow.

For a player with high expectations, a good start like that is nothing short of promising.

 

 

All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.  Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.

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