Through two games in the Cup final, here’s an updated look at the top five candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
1. Ryan Kesler, VAN
Stats: 20 GP, 7 G, 12 A, 19 Pts, +7 We all know how good and valuable Ryan Kesler has been in these playoffs. Against Nashville he was a beast in every sense of the word; in Rounds 1 and 3 he came up big when he needed to. In Game 1 of the final, the late goal from Raffi Torres would not have happened without Kesler’s effort at the blue-line to get around Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk and begin the play just seconds before the goal.
Is there any doubt that he is the front runner for the Conn Smythe at this point? No.
2. Roberto Luongo, VAN
Stats: 20 GP, 14-6, 2.16 GAA, .928 SV%, 3 SO
Like it or not, Roberto Luongo’s name is in this conversation. His unbelievable performance in Game 5 against San Jose (54 saves) cannot go unnoticed. He was almost as impressive in the series-opener against Boston, where he made 36 saves in a shutout. Ever since being benched in Game 6 of the first round, Luongo has responded with stellar, consistent play.
3. Tim Thomas, BOS
Stats: 20 GP, 12-8, 2.27 GAA, .930 SV%, 2 SO
The wily Boston netminder is not to blame for these two losses to the Canucks. He was fantastic in Game 1 and his usual aggressive approach didn’t work in his advantage in Game 2. Despite the losses, Thomas has been making some unreal saves in this series. Thomas also picked up two shutouts in the conference final, was dominant against Philadelphia, and led the comeback in Round 1 versus Montreal.
4. Henrik Sedin, VAN
Stats: 20 GP, 2 G, 19 A, 21 Pts, -3
The Canucks captain was criticized in the first two rounds, but silenced those doubters with his 12-point effort in five third round games against the Sharks. In those games, Henrik could not be contained. Thus far in the final, he has been. But he is still the playoff point leader and played a big part in the Canucks getting past San Jose (similarly to Kesler’s second-round series).
5. Nathan Horton, BOS
Stats: 20 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 Pts, +11
Who has been the clutch Bruin this spring? Nathan Horton. Playing in his first Stanley Cup Playoff, Horton has three game-winning goals (two in Game 7’s; two in overtime). Boston is also 8-0 in games where Horton scores. It’s been a committee of Bruins getting the job done offensively, but when the B’s have needed a goal, Horton has been that guy to score one.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Sedin, VAN; David Krejci, BOS; Patrice Bergeron, BOS
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.