Now that we’ve reached the Stanley Cup finals, it’s time to start thinking about who could wind up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Both the Devils and Kings have a handful of guys to consider for the award, but we’re picking out three from each team to consider.
Here goes nothing.
Drew Doughty — Ken Hitchcock said Doughty was the best player in the second round and he’s looked every bit of the superstar he’s meant to be in the postseason. With two goals and eight assists he’s, by far, the leading blue line scorer for L.A.
Dustin Brown — Brown has been Mr. Everything for Los Angeles. Even strength he’s been a beast and shorthanded he’s given opponents nightmares. He’s physical, he’s skilled, and he’s leading the Kings in goals and points with every goal seeming to be a big one.
Jonathan Quick — Without Quick the Kings are toast most nights. He’s seen plenty of rubber and kept most of it out with a .946 save percentage. The Kings haven’t been superstars on defense but with Quick in goal they’ve been mopping the floor with opponents out West. Do the Kings even go anywhere without their Vezina Trophy finalist?
Ilya Kovalchuk — He’s leading the playoffs in points and is a goal shy of tying Danny Briere and Claude Giroux for the playoff lead. He’s been everything the Devils hoped he would be when they signed him to his monster deal two summers ago and, after finally escaping the first round, he’s settled in in glorious fashion.
Martin Brodeur — Brodeur might’ve been boned out of the 2003 Conn Smythe when Jean-Sebastien Giguere won it in losing fashion, but with how he’s played in these playoffs he might be able to land the one trophy that’s eluded him. Brodeur might be 40 years-old, but he’s looking like classic Marty all over again.
Zach Parise — He’s the captain and he’s had a huge postseason with seven goals and seven assists, trailing only Kovalchuk offensively. Being the captain means having to carry the team and he’s more than done his share of that, especially against the Rangers. Now if only they can get him locked up long-term…
Now it’s up to you to decide. Who takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy right now? Vote in our poll and let us know.
Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.