Now that we’re through the third round, here’s an updated look at the top five candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
1. Ryan Kesler, VAN
Stats: 18 GP, 7 G, 11 A, 18 Pts, +6 In five games against the Sharks, Ryan Kesler was held in check with only three points. With that being said, he has still been the most valuable player on the Canucks this postseason. The Presidents’ Trophy winners may not get past Nashville in Round 2, or Chicago in Game 7, if it weren’t for Kesler’s incredible performance on both ends of the ice. When it looked like he was too hurt to make a difference in Game 5 against the Sharks, he came through with the game-tying goal with 13 seconds to go.
There is no doubt that, if the playoffs ended today and the Canucks were raising the Cup, Kesler would be the Conn Smythe winner.
2. Tim Thomas, BOS
Stats: 18 GP, 12-6, 2.29 GAA, .929 SV%, 2 SO
All good goaltenders rebound from subpar outings. Tim Thomas did just in Friday’s Game 7. After a lackluster Game 6, where Thomas surrendered five goals, the 37-year-old responded with a shutout to propel the Bruins past the Lightning. The Vezina Trophy favorite was the backbone of Boston’s comeback against Montreal in Round 1, and was downright dominant in a four-game sweep of Philadelphia.
Sure, Thomas had his fair share of ups and downs in the conference final; but he was there in the clutch. There’s no way the B’s would be here without Thomas manning the crease.
3. Henrik Sedin, VAN
Stats: 18 GP, 2 G, 19 A, 21 Pts, -4
The captain of the Canucks vaulted himself into Conn Smythe consideration with his stellar performance in the third round. Henrik and Daniel Sedin silenced their critics with a huge effort when their team needed someone step up as Kesler was contained. Henrik stood out like a sore thumb, though. In five games, Henrik tallied 11 assists and 12 points, and his one goal was the game-winner in the series opener.
The league’s playoff points leader is going to have to keep up his dynamite play through the final to ultimately win the Smythe. But Henrik’s standout performance in Round 3 definitely put him in the conversation.
4. Patrice Bergeron, BOS
Stats: 16 GP, 4 G, 11 A, 15 Pts, +9
I think we all saw just how valuable Bergeron was to Boston when he returned from his mild concussion in Game 3. It didn’t look like he missed a beat and even he scored two goals (one shorthanded) in Game 4. Bergeron is constantly facing the other team’s best offensive line, yet, producing offense at the same time.
Though he hasn’t showed up on the stat-sheet as much as of late, Bergeron is Boston’s most valuable forward and it has been evident this spring.
5. Nathan Horton, BOS
Stats: 18 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 Pts, +10
Nathan Horton, playing in his first postseason, has scored two game-winning goals in a Game 7 this spring. Who else has done that, in a single playoff? No one. In the history of the NHL. It goes beyond that with the former Florida Panther. Three of his eight goals have been of the game-winning variety. Also, the B’s are 8-0 when Horton scores. He has quietly been steady and clutch for the Eastern Conference Champions in their run to the final.
Honorable Mention: David Krejci, BOS; Roberto Luongo, VAN
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