Saturday's Three Stars: Byfuglien, Malkin power through Game 5

Greg Wyshynski
May 10, 2009

No. 1 Star: Dustin Byfuglien(notes), Chicago Blackhawks

A series that was bordering on the tedious located its stones on Saturday night. In the middle of the boiling bad blood, Byfuglien continued his dominating play as a power forward in the series and found the net twice in the Blackhawks' Game 5 road win, 4-2, over the Vancouver Canucks. Byfuglien scored the opening goal in the game by collecting the rebound of a Brian Campbell(notes) shot. Then, after Shane O'Brien(notes) picked up an extra roughing minor in a scrum with Matt Walker(notes), Byfuglien converted a Campbell pass to knot the game at 2-2. Dave Boland would score the game-winner -- on a brilliant feed from Patrick Kane(notes) -- with 5:05 left on the power play, but Byfuglien's was the MVP performance for the Hawks in taking the series lead.

No. 2 Star: Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins

Malkin scored the game-winner and had an assist in the Penguins' thrilling 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals to take a 3-2 series lead. His between-the-legs pass to Ruslan Fedotenko(notes) set up a critical tying goal early in the third period. In overtime, Malkin's hard work earned a Pittsburgh power play; with one second left on it, Malkin sent the puck off of Caps defenseman Tom Poti(notes) and into the net for the definitive goal.

No. 3 Star: Alexander Ovechkin(notes), Washington Capitals

A valiant effort in defeat for Ovechkin: He answered a Jordan Staal(notes) goal 59 second later in the second period, and scored on a 2-on-1 down low with Nicklas Backstrom(notes) to send Game 5 into overtime. After a lackluster Game 4, Ovechkin played over 24 minutes and ended with three points and five shots on goal.

Major Penalty: It's one thing to litter the ice after a tough loss, as Capitals fans did in overtime. It's another thing to do it during the game, as Canucks fans piled up the garbage in the third period after Boland scored on the power play following a bad Kevin Bieksa(notes) penalty; again after Ryan Kesler(notes) was whistled for an egregious holding call; and again when Martin Havlat(notes) scored into an empty net to clinch it. As announcer John Shorthouse said: This is the kind of behavior that earns a fan base a reputation for "being sore losers."

Minor Penalty: Along with that, the penalties on Bieksa and Kelser handed the win to the Hawks. Ill-timed and fatal to the Canucks.

Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Penguins; 2. Eric Staal(notes), Hurricanes; 3. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; 4. Johan Franzen(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 5. Cam Ward(notes), Hurricanes; 6. Roberto Luongo(notes), Vancouver Canucks; 7. Jussi Jokinen(notes), Hurricanes; 8. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Anaheim Ducks; 9. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks; 10. Simeon Varlamov(notes), Capitals.