Welcome to the first edition of our Conn Smythe Watch, which chronicles the ever-changing race for playoff MVP. This one is a just a glimpse at the current picture; we’ll make it a daily feature when Round 2 begins. Keep in mind that we factor in the probability of a long playoff run into these choices. Who are the current favorites for playoff MVP? Glad you asked.
1. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
The Triplets Line has taken over the Lightning’s series against the Rangers, led by Johnson and his 12 goals in the playoffs. He’s the postseason leader in goals and points (18), and tied for the lead with seven power-play points.
2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (7)
The heart, soul and muscle of the Ducks. He had two assists in their Game 3 win, including a great pass to set up Simon Despres for the game winner. He now has 16 points, with 14 assists.
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (4)
Kane’s whirling back-hander in Game 3 was his eighth goal of the playoffs and his 14th point in 13 games. He’s credited with two game-winners.
4. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (2)
Perry continues to be a force whether or not he hits the score sheet. His 16 points are tied with two others for second in the playoffs. He’s also second in goals with eight. He also leads the playoffs in “most times having his health threatened by Mike Milbury.”
5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (1)
His goals-against average is up over 2.12 and his save percentage is now down to .926 after giving up 12 goals in two games. But if the Rangers are going to battle back in the Eastern Conference Final, it’ll be with Lundqvist’s clutch play.
6. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (6)
Keith has 11 points in 13 games, but the number that puts him in the conversation for MVP is 31:44, his average time on ice, picking up the slack as the Blackhawks ignore their third 'D' pairing.
7. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks (5)
Anderson now has a 1.75 GAA and a .935 save percentage for the Ducks, to go along with his 10 wins. He’s outplaying Corey Crawford in the Western Conference Final.
8. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (NR)
Stamkos has been helped with the Triplets’ secondary scoring, but he’s playing some of his best hockey in this run: 14 points in 16 games, with seven on the power play.
9. Derek Stepan, New York Rangers (8)
The Rangers’ top scorer with 12 points, including five goals and an overtime game winner.
10. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning (9)
Bish, please: He has a 2.03 GAA and a .925 save percentage, despite giving up eight goals in his last two games.
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