The rookie's playoff debut was a memorable one. He assisted on Danny Briere's controversial breakaway goal — he was offside — to cut the Pittsburgh Penguins' lead to 3-1; assisted on Briere's second of the night to close the gap further; and then tipped home a pass from Scott Hartnell to tie the game at 12:23 of the third. Jakub Voracek's game-winner in OT gave the Flyers a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference showdown.
Richards's first playoff game with LA saw him score a power-play goal to tie the Vancouver Canucks in the first and then assist on third-period goals by Dustin Penner (off a nice skate-pass from Jeff Carter) and Dustin Brown (empty netter) to earn a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. He was also an agitating force and a physical presence: four hits, including a big one on Alex Burrows near the end.
No. 3 Star: Gabriel Bourque, Nashville Predators
The Predators' rookie scored twice, including the eventual game-winner in the third period, as Nashville took Game 1 of its series against the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2 — making the most of his 9:49 of ice time.
Honorable mention: Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and Paul Gaustad scored a goal in the Preds' win. … Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom had the Wings' goals. … Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. … After a rough first period in which he surrendered three goals, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 15 shots to lead the Flyers. … Alexandre Burrows and Alex Edler had the Canucks goals. … Willie Mitchell scored his third playoff goal in 52 career games.
Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings; 2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators 3. Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks; 5. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 8. Gabriel Bourque, Nashville Predators; 9. Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers; 10. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings.
Dishonorable mention: Shea Weber's slamming of Zetterberg's head into the glass at the end of regulation had fans calling for a suspension. … The officials called 17 minor penalties in the Detroit/Nashville game, against the two least-penalized teams in the League this season. … The officials missed the offside on Briere and an icing that helped the Penguins score their third goal. … Brad Staurt was a minus-3 and saw Gaustad's goal go off his skate. … The Penguins had been 32-0-3 when leading after two periods. … Finally, this Byron Bitz hit on Kyle Clifford cost him a boarding major and a game misconduct; should it lead to more from the NHL?