Conn Smythe Watch: Tuukka time for playoff MVP race

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 2.

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask was the top star in Game 3, posting his third shutout of the playoffs. He leads the postseason in goals-against average (1.64) and save percentage (.946), playing well enough to make fans ask “Timmy who?” (Which, incidentally, is the same question the IRS asked after Thomas snubbed the White House, we imagine.)

2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins

Krejci leads the NHL with 23 points in 19 playoff games, and is a plus-15. He went scoreless in Game 3, which makes him an honorary Blackhawk.

3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Crawford was the Blackhawks’ best player in Game 3, and couldn’t be faulted on either goal. He has a 1.74 GAA and a .946 save percentage, and if Chicago pulls itself out of this spiral it could be Crawford that reaps the benefit.

4. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

The Bruins center was a hockey deity in the faceoff dot, going 24 for 28 in Game 3. His power-play goal was a backbreaker. He only has 13 points, but his value on both ends of the ice has been enormous.

5. Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks

There’s still a path to the Conn Smythe for Shaw, who already has the Blackhawks’ lone shining moment in the Final. But he’d have to be a difference maker in their other wins, assuming there are other wins.

6. Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins

Horton is second in the playoffs with 18 points in 19 games and is a plus-22. His shoulder injury might hinder him, but it will it also inspire some to consider his “triumph over adversity?”

7. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks suffered a huge blow when Hossa couldn’t answer the bell in Game 3, as he’s tied with Patrick Sharp with 15 points for the team playoff lead. If he comes back to the series and makes a difference, it could be the inspirational story of the series.

8. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

The hulking defenseman is playing big minutes and helping to shut down both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the Final. He also has 12 points and is a plus-13.

9. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Kane’s heroics against the Los Angeles Kings seem like they’re miles away as he’s gone three games without a goal against the Boston Bruins.

10. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks

Sharp is tied with Hossa for the team lead in points and was arguably the team’s best skater in the Game 3 loss. He scored the team’s lone goal in Game 2, but has gone scoreless in five of his last six games.

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