April 19, 2009
No. 1 star, Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks' young captain sure doesn't look like he's never appeared in the Stanley Cup playoffs before. Toews put his team on his back and delivered after host Chicago fell behind 2-0 in Saturday night's Game 2. Toews scored a power-play goal 46 seconds into the second period to trim the visitors' lead in half. And he scored a killer, final-minute goal in the second at even-strength with 24 seconds remaining to give the 'Hawks the 3-2 lead that would hold up as their sixth straight win over Calgary including regular-season matchups.
No. 2 star, Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers:
Thirty-five saves was enough for Lundqvist to record his third career playoff shutout and lead the Rangers to a 1-0 win and a 2-0 series lead over shocked Washington. Lundqvist had plenty of help, too, as the Rangers blocked 29 more Capital efforts directed toward the net as Washington was blanked for only the fourth time including regular-season games.
No. 3 star, Marc Savard, Boston Bruins:
Boston's slick playmaking center had a field day against the confidence-lacking Canadiens, piling up four points on the visitors during a 5-1 Bruins' shellacking. Savard got the rout started with a power-play goal at 9:59 of the first period before figuring in the scoring of all three second-period Boston goals. Savard's second power-play goal of the game was sandwiched by assists as the Bruins broke open a close game.
Major penalty: Bruce Boudreau made a mistake by starting 20-year-old goalie Simeon Varlamov in Game 2, not because the rookie goalie surrendered the only goal of a pivotal game for the Capitals but because it leaves Jose Theodore knowing his coach doesn't have confidence in him. What does Boudreau do now? He has to go to Theodore in Game 3 because you don't put Varlamov into hostile Madison Square Garden for a must-win Game 3. Talk about setting someone up for failure. Boudreau has to go with Theodore, but good luck when that first one goes in. Where's Brett Leonhardt when you need him?
Minor penalty: The Columbus Blue Jackets look like their first venture into the Stanley Cup playoffs is going to be a short one. Not only have the Blue Jackets been outscored 8-1 in the opening two games against Detroit, Columbus' captain Rick Nash has been held without a point by the defending Cup champs.
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers; 2. Roberto Luongo, Canucks; 3. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins; 4. Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks; 5. Chris Osgood, Red Wings; 6. Sidney Crosby, Penguins; 7. Jonas Hiller, Ducks; 8. Zdeno Chara, Bruins; 9. Daniel Sedin, Canucks; 10. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks.