Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

Online sports book: Malkin, Crosby playoff MVP favorites


The good folks from Bovada’s online sportsbook have posted odds on who’ll win the 2012 Conn Smythe trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player, and a pair of Penguins — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — top the list.

Here are the odds, in full:

Evgeni Malkin (PIT) — 11/1
Sidney Crosby (PIT) — 11/1
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) — 16/1
Henrik Sedin (VAN) — 16/1
Daniel Sedin (VAN) —  16/1
Roberto Luongo (VAN) — 20/1
Tim Thomas (BOS) — 22/1
Pekka Rinne (NAS) — 25/1
Marian Gaborik (NYR) — 25/1
Brian Elliott (STL) — 25/1
Pavel Datsyuk (DET)  — 30/1
Brad Richards (NYR) —  30/1
Claude Giroux (PHI) — 30/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) — 30/1
Jaroslav Halak (STL) — 30/1
Jimmy Howard (DET) — 35/1
James Neal (PIT) —  35/1
David Perron (STL) —  35/1
Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 40/1
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) — 40/1
Alexander Radulov (NAS) — 40/1
Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI) —  40/1
David Backes (STL) —  40/1
Ryan Kesler (VAN) — 40/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS) —  45/1
David Krejci (BOS) — 45/1
Milan Lucic (BOS) — 45/1
Anze Kopitar (LA) — 45/1
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) — 45/1
Joe Thornton (SJ) — 45/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS) — 45/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) — 50/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) — 50/1
Kris Versteeg (FLA) — 50/1
Jonathan Quick (LA) — 50/1
Martin Erat (NAS) — 50/1
Martin Brodeur (NJ) — 50/1
Ryan Callahan (NYR) — 50/1
Mike Smith (PHO) — 50/1
Antti Niemi (SJ) — 50/1
Tyler Seguin (BOS) — 60/1
Jason Spezza (OTT) — 60/1
Scott Hartnell (PHI) — 60/1
Jaromir Jagr (PHI) — 60/1
Ray Whitney (PHO) — 60/1
Nicklas Backstrom (WAS — 60/1
Tomas Fleischmann (FLA) — 65/1
Stephen Weiss (FLA) — 65/1
Zach Parise (NJ) — 65/1
Patrick Marleau (SJ) — 65/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) — 75/1
Valtteri Filppula (DET) — 75/1
Mike Richards (LA) — 75/1
Jeff Carter (LA) — 75/1
Andrei Kostitsyn (NAS) — 75/1
Patrik Elias (NJ) — 75/1
Logan Couture (SJ) — 75/1
T.J. Oshie (STL) — 75/1
Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) —  80/1
Shane Doan (PHO) — 80/1
Alexander Semin (WAS) — 85/1
Erik Karlsson (OTT) — 100/1
Milan Michalek (OTT) — 100/1
Radim Vrbata (PHO) — 100/1
Braden Holtby (WAS) — 100/1

Some notes:

— Six of the last 10 Conn Smythe winners are available: Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Toews, Malkin, Thomas and Richards.

— A defenseman hasn’t won the award since Scott Neidermayer with Anaheim in 2007.

— The youngest player on this list? 20-year-old Tyler Seguin.

— Three of the five youngest Conn Smythe winners of all time have come from the last seven postseasons: Cam Ward (21, 2005-06), Toews (21, 2009-10) and Malkin (22, 2008-09).

— The other two youngest? Bobby Orr (21, 1969-70) and Patrick Roy (20, 1985-86).

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen