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Conn Smythe Watch: Krejci leads pack; Crawford jumps Rask

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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The morning after every Stanley Cup Final game, Puck Daddy takes an expanded look at the race for playoff MVP.

1. David Krejci, Boston Bruins

With two assists in the Bruins’ Game 1 loss in Chicago, Krejci now leads the playoffs with 23 points in 17 games. He’s the heart of the HuLK Line (Horton, Lucic, Krejci), which apparently is now a thing. Factor in his OT goal from earlier in the playoffs, and he remains the top pick for MVP -- if the Bruins win. Otherwise ...

2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Crawford was flawless in the three overtimes of Game 1, making 29 saves in the extra sessions. His GAA sits at 1.73, and his save percentage has crept up to .936. He wasn’t perfect, but he answered a lot of critics on Wednesday night.

3. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask gave up four goals in Game 1, but it’s hard to fault him on any of them – especially the two deflection goals that tied and won the game. He has a 1.78 GAA and an NHL best .942 save percentage.

4. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Bergeron netted his sixth goal of the playoffs, on the power play, and won 66 percent of his faceoffs in Game 1. His heroics from earlier in the postseason still resonate.

5. Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks

Shaw only has five goals in 18 games, but his Game 1 performance puts him in the Conn Smythe conversation. The Finals weigh heavily on the MVP vote; if Shaw scores a few more and continues to agitate Zdeno Chara and the Bruins, he’s a dark horse.

6. Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins

While there’s now concern about his injury, Horton’s 18 points in 17 games and an astounding plus-22 put him in the MVP conversation – albeit behind Krejci.

7. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Hossa now leads the Blackhawks with 15 points after his Game 1 assist. He’s not been dominant, but he could have the numbers at the end to push for the Conn.

8. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Not the strongest game for Chara on Wednesday night: He skated 45:05, took a penalty and hit a goal post on the power play. But other than Rask, he’s the long freaky face of the Bruins’ defense.

9. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Kane’s awesome performance in the last two games of the Western Conference Final would seem to have him poised for a run at MVP in the Stanley Cup Final. He had 11 shot attempts but ended with no points and a minus-1.

10. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

Keith was a plus-1 and played a game-high 48:40 in Game 1. He’s tied with Chara in points (11) and is a plus-7.

Honorable Mention: Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Dennis Seidenberg.

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