A year ago “Mr. Game 7” Justin Williams recorded two goals and five assists in the Stanley Cup final to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. A handful of players could emerge from the pack to do the same this year. Here is a look some of the candidates with odds from online betting site Bodog:
With a playoff-best 12 goals and 21 assists, Johnson has been the Lightning’s best player. Centre of the productive “Triplets” line between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, the 24-year-old has scored on a consistent basis and in big moments.
Averaging 31 minutes 35 seconds a game, the Blackhawks’ No. 1 defenceman has played almost 70 more minutes than the next highest player in the playoffs. He’s also far and away the top blue-line scorer with 18 points.
The 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner had seven points in Chicago’s Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks, including three assists in Game 7. With 111 points in 110 NHL post-season games, Kane is primed for more in the Cup final.
Toews became the first player in Stanley Cup playoff history to have multiple goals in Games 5 and 7 on the road in the same series, and the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy winner brings his best in big spots. Toews makes the Blackhawks go.
Tampa Bay’s starting goaltender has a 2.15 goals-against average and .920 save percentage, but his two Game 7 shutouts stand out. If the final turns into a long series, Bishop will face his strongest test of the playoffs and have to pass it.
Hedman’s numbers don’t pop off the page, but the big defenceman’s play has improved as the playoffs have evolved. The Lightning don’t need him to be a 30-minute man, but his 23 a game are some of the best in hockey right now.
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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press