Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
By Charlie O’Connor (@THG_Charlie)
Evgeni Malkin and Claude Giroux. One-two in the scoring race; one-two in the race for the Hart Trophy at the all-star break.
With all due respect to other worthy candidates such as Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews and Henrik Lundqvist, Malkin and Giroux remain a cut above their competition. The two Atlantic division forwards are atop the NHL scoring charts despite missing a combined eleven games.
Both players have dealt with increased scoring responsibilities on their respective clubs. Malkin has taken up the Pittsburgh mantle of primary scoring threat due to the lingering injury troubles of Sidney Crosby, while Giroux became the Philadelphia Flyers’ top forward by default after the offseason trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Neither has shrunk from his new role; instead, both players have thrived.
At first glance, a direct comparison between the two presumptive favorites seems to favor Malkin.