No. 1 star, Cristobal Huet(notes), Chicago Blackhawks:
Yes, he played for the losing team on Wednesday night, a defeat the sends the upstart Blackhawks to the first tee. But was there a better player on the ice at The Joe? No chance. Before Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) injured something in Game 3, Huet's last opportunity to play came before Easter for goodness sake. Huet made 44 saves in all, none better than his lower right-leg lift while on his stomach to deny Johan Franzen's(notes) late-regulation game-winning attempt.
No. 2 star, Darren Helm(notes), Detroit Red Wings:
Detroit's latest unexpected hero found himself in the right place at the right time to punch home the game- and series-winning goal on Wednesday night. Helm ended the suspense at 3:58 of overtime to cap a long Red Wings' possession that had the Blackhawks scrambling in their own zone. You could just sense the end was coming. And don't forget about that eye-catching stat of 12 hits Helm doled out. Pittsburgh might want to be aware of this guy.
Major penalty: Steve Bartman. Yeah, Chicago, let's blame him for this too.
Minor penalty: Moving the Stanley Cup Finals up to a Saturday start from the earlier announced June 5 date is obviously the right thing to do, but the league went back and forth on this over the last couple of days, and the final decision was news to a lot of people on Wednesday. We're wondering if television executives tell Gary Bettman what to wear each day, too?
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Evgeni Malkin(notes), Penguins; 2. Johan Franzen, Red Wings; 3. Sidney Crosby(notes), Penguins; 4. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Red Wings; 5. Chris Osgood(notes), Red Wings; 6. Marc-Andre Fleury(notes), Penguins; 7. Marian Hossa(notes), Red Wings; 8. Nicklas Lidstrom(notes), Red Wings; 9. Sergei Gonchar(notes), Penguins; 10. Jordan Staal(notes), Penguins.
- Red Wings