With just two teams remaining, the list of candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy honouring the post-season MVP has narrowed. Here’s a look at five of those in the running based on their play thus far.
1. Dustin Brown
The Kings captain leads the team in several categories including scoring, hits and game-winning goals. His ability to get under the opposition’s skin has added to both his reputation and his effectiveness through an alarmingly easy Kings run through the first three rounds.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk
Few skaters stand out offensively for the Devils, mainly because there is so much emphasis on the “team” game. But Kovalchuk is now the league leading scorer in the playoffs and his big-play ability late in the Eastern Conference was impressive.
3. Jonathan Quick
Quite possibly the early frontrunner given his astounding numbers thus far in the Kings’ 12-2 run. The Los Angeles netminder has a 1.54 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage with two shutouts.
4. Martin Brodeur
There was a sense heading into the playoffs that Brodeur has lost some of his edge, but his play in the third period Friday night certainly eliminated that thought. But here’s why he’s MVP material: When things get a little off-kilter for the Devils, the team relies on his calming stability (not to mention his 2.04 GAA and .923 save percentage through 18 games.)
5. Anze Kopitar
Probably the least likely of the Kings candidates named here - though that could change with a big final. Strong up the middle, Kopitar has flash on offence but it is his two-way play that has distinguished him thus far.