Conn Smythe Watch: MVP race tightens as Blackhawks, Bruins are tied up

The morning after every Stanley Cup Final game, Puck Daddy takes an expanded look at the race for playoff MVP. Here’s the one from after Game 3.

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask’s numbers (1.83 GAA, .941 save percentage) are still the best in the playoffs despite giving up six goals in Game 4. The Bruins didn’t give him the defensive support he’s used to; is Rask the backbone of the team or a product of the system?

2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins

Krejci’s 24 points in 20 games leads the NHL postseason, but he’s gone five games without a goal. (He has three helpers in that span.)

3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

The second-best goalie in the NHL playoffs statistically, Crawford’s arguably been the Blackhawks’ best player in the Final … but how many more glove-side goals are going to fly by him?

4. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Bergeron now has nine goals in the playoffs to go along with his defensive prowess and face-off dominance. His candidacy is gaining steam as he continues to hit the score sheet.

5. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks

Sharp has 10 goals to lead the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has been the Hawks’ best forward in the Final.

6. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

The Bruins’ man/mountain had a rough Game 4, skating to a minus-3 and on the ice for five Chicago goals. But he remains the symbol of the Bruins’ defense and has 14 points in 20 games.

7. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Kane’s 17 points lead the Blackhawks. If his reunion with Jonathan Toews produces significant offense, he could make a Conn push.

8. Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins

The shoulder injury dogging Horton has put a damper on his goal-scoring, as he hasn’t tallied one since June 3. But he still has 19 points in 20 games and is a plus-23.

9. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Hossa returned from injury with an assist in Game 4, giving him 16 points in 20 games. If he's a factor in two more Chicago wins, he could challenge for MVP.

10. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Welcome back to the goal-scoring column, Mr. Toews. The captain scored a goal for the first time since Game 5 against Detroit in the semifinals. His defensive play alone should have him in the MVP conversation; what if his offense catches fire in the next few games?

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Blackhawks' OT win adds to Stanley Cup saga
Avalanche will pass on Seth Jones in draft
NBC affiliate in Texas cuts to commercial, misses Game 4 OT goal

What to Read Next