With just a few
games left to be played in this year's playoffs, the field for the MVP honors
has narrowed itself down a bit; however, this may be one of the toughest
seasons in recent memory to pick a clear-cut winner. The choice obviously depends most upon who
wins the Cup. After that, there are a
number of candidates on both side worthy of consideration. Here are the front-runners at this point,
heading into Game 4:
1. Tuukka Rask (BOS)
If there is such
thing as a front-runner in this MVP race, it would have to be Rask. He has been unbelievable in net, largely
making up for the paltry goal-scoring of the Bruins over the past 2 series. His GAA of 1.64 and save percentage of .946
are best in the league by a long shot.
Without his brilliance in round 3, the Bruins couldn't have so easily
dispatched of the Pens.
2. David Krejci (BOS)
Krejci leads the
league in playoff scoring with 23 points.
He's tied with Patrick Sharp for tops in goal scoring with 9. The production has slowed down in the finals. He has just 2 assists and no goals in the
Finals through 3 games. Even without his
scoring, his puck control and overall play have been outstanding. The Bruins are a well balanced team, but
Krejci has emerged as the go to guy in the playoffs.
3. Marian Hossa (CHI)
Sometimes the best
way to gauge the value of a player is in their absence. With Hossa out in Game 3 of the Finals, the
Hawks struggled to generate opportunities.
His 2-way play has surpassed that of captain Toews, who has been
somewhat absent during this postseason.
If Chicago is to come back and claim the Cup, they will need a healthy
Hossa to do that.
4. Corey Crawford (CHI)
perceived as a potential weak link, Crawford has been outstanding throughout
the playoffs. Were it not for the
overshadowing brilliance in the opposite net, Crawford may be the front runner
in this column. His numbers speak for
themselves: GAA of 1.73, Save Percentage of .936. If he can add 3 wins to that total, Crawford
may have a Trophy on his shelf.
5. Zdeno Chara (BOS)
production has been very good (12 points in 19 games), but it is his hulking
defensive presence that has him in the running for the MVP honors. He has owned the region in and around Rask's
crease, helping the Bruins keep some of the best offensive talents in the
league in check.
should they do something special in the last few games:
Horton (BOS) -
like Hossa, he was missed greatly when absent from his lineup. His +22 is tops.
Sharp (CHI) -
leads the Hawks in points and goals
- Milan Lucic
(BOS) - 85 hits
are best in the league. He came up
clutch early in the playoffs.
And in the category
of unsung hero, as much as it pains me to say this… Jaromir Jagr (BOS) has been
everything and more the Bruins had hoped for.
Had just one or two of his 55 shots on goals gone in the net, he may have
made the conversation above. He has been
dominate on both ends of the rink, despite his advanced age.