The morning after every Stanley Cup Final game, Puck Daddy takes an expanded look at the race for playoff MVP. Here’s the one from after Game 4.
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Kane’s been up and down in the postseason, but if you weigh the final games heavier, he’s got a strong Conn case. His hat trick won the Western Conference Final. He has 3 goals and an assist in two straight Hawks wins over the Bruins. If he scores again in an elimination Game 6 for Chicago, the Conn could be his. That is, if the writers voting on it see past his inconsistent stretches.
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Crawford is tied for the postseason lead with a 1.83 GAA, winning Game 5 with a solid 24-save effort. He hasn’t had to stand on his head to win games, and he was lucky to get out of Game 4 with a win, but he’ll have Conn-worthy numbers by series’ end if Chicago wins.
3. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Once again, Rask couldn’t necessarily be faulted for Chicago’s goals in a Bruins defeat. He made 29 saves in Game 5 – including a beauty against Patrick Sharp, whom himself is a beauty – and leads with the NHL with a .941 save percentage and is tied with Crawford with a 1.83 GAA.
4. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Sharp has had some stretches where he didn’t score, but he’s never been invisible. His 10 goals lead the playoffs. Sharp will probably need some elimination game heroism to clinch the Conn, but he’s in the mix.
5. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Ask around, and Bergeron’s name is right there with Rask as the Bruins’ MVP for the postseason. How that changes if he misses time with an undisclosed injury (reportedly a spleen ailment) is anyone’s guess. But there’s no denying his exceptional campaign to this point.
6. David Krejci, Boston Bruins
Krejci and his line have gone quiet against Chicago, thanks in large part to Jonathan Toews. But he has 25 points in 21 games and is a plus-14 for the Bruins.
7. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
The idea that Toews could be in the MVP mix with such dismal offensive numbers (2 goals in 22 games) might seem outlandish, but Toews’ job as a shutdown defensive player has garnered plenty of notice and support behind the scenes.
8. Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks
Bickell has come to life again in the Stanley Cup Final after dominating the Western Conference Final. He has three points in his last three games since being reunited with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Would need a rather robust final game to get back into the conversation, but his plus-11 is tied for the Hawks lead.
9. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Chara’s been a huge factor in the Bruins’ success throughout the playoffs, but one wonders if his candidacy is cooked after the Blackhawks scored seven of eight goals with him on the ice.
10. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Keith has 12 points in 21 games and is a plus-11, skating 27:33 on average per night. If the voters want to award the Hawks’ defense, Keith could be the choice.