Round 2 is off the ground, so it seems like a good opportunity to start throwing out names for consideration for the coveted MVP of the postseason. Here are the early favorites, with a skewed chunk of bias against players unlikely to make it through to rounds 3 and 4. (sorry Halak).
1. Sidney Crosby
To the surprise of absolutely nobody in the world, Crosby is leading the pack once again, both in terms of scoring, but also in terms of sheer dominance. Even if he weren't averaging over 2 points a game, his control of the play and inspiring work would earn him top spot on the favorites list.
2. Joe Pavelski
Tied for the lead in goal scoring, Pavelski has helped make the 2nd line the top line in San Jose. While Thornton, Marleau, and Heatley have been held in check, Pavelski and crew have led the way for the Sharks.
3. Mikael Samuelsson
Samuelsson had a career series in round 1 against LA. He matches Pavelski in stats with 7 goals and 4 assists, though he has had the benefit of significant ice time with the Sedins. While he couldn't break through to the top lines in Detroit, he's been counted on in a big way in Vancouver, and he's stepped up to the challenge.
4. Henrik Zetterberg
It's always a fair bet to put your money on Zetterberg when the postseason arrives. He's been solid as always for Detroit, piling up 6 goals and 5 assists for the Wings thus far.
5. Evgeni Nabokov
He'll have to keep his GAA under 2 to even merit consideration, but it's hard to overlook what Nabokov has brought for the Sharks so far. With a GAA of 1.93 and a save percentage of .919, he has given San Jose the stability they need in net to advance.
6. Jaroslav Halak
If we were grading purely on Round 1, he would clearly be #1 on this list. Unfortunately for Halak, there are 4 rounds to consider, and I just can't see him playing past this one. Given his performance in game 1, he may be sharing time over the next week with Carey Price, until the Pens put them out to pasture.
7. Dan Boyle
It's rare the a defenseman gets a whiff of consideration for this trophy, but it's hard to ignore Boyle's contribution to the cause. He has shown character in bouncing back from the disastrous own-goal against the Avalanche early on to put up 9 points in 7 games. In case you're counting, that's more than any of the men on the top line in San Jose.
8. Chris Pronger
While we're on the topic of defensemen, Pronger has been a beast for Philadelphia. He was their MVP in round 1, and will be counted on to pound the Boston forwards in round 2. He's also put up some good numbers, with 3 goals and 4 assists in 6 games.
9. Brian Boucher
Boucher has been the most surprising player of the postseason. He hasn't been a factor in the league for many years, but defaulted into the starting goalie position for the Flyers. He has come through brilliantly so far, posting a GAA of 2.07 and a save percentage of .928 to lead all goalie to this point.
10. Evgeni Malkin
We'd be foolish to leave last year's winner off any list of candidates. He's done his part so far, putting in 4 goals and 5 assists in 7 games for the Pens. Expect even higher levels of production as this series with Montreal goes on.
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