The MVPs of Each First Round Winner

Shawn Reis
April 26 2017 09:28AM

There's only one Conn Smythe, but that doesn't mean we can't hand out our own playoff MVP awards. Let's take one last look back on the first round, and hand out an award for each winning team's most valuable player.

Ottawa Senators - Erik Karlsson: He averaged a point a game, averaging over 30 minutes played each game, and was second on the team with a 60.55 xGF%.

New York Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist: His .947 save percentage ranks third across all goalies in the playoffs, and it was a good margin higher than Carey Price's .933.

Washington Capitals - T.J. Oshie: He led Washington in scoring with 7 points in 6 games, led their forwards in ice-time averaging 21:25 per game, and was second on the team with a 59.16 xGF%.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Evgeni Malkin: Malkin leads the playoffs in scoring with 11 points, which ties the 2009 Conn Smythe winner's single series record.

St. Louis Blues - Jake Allen: Minnesota's 60.86% Corsi was easily the best mark of any team in the first round of the playoffs, but Allen's stellar .956 save percentage was enough to propel the Blues over the Wild in just five games.

Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne: He posted a remarkable 976 save percentage through a sweep of the Western Conference's 1-seed Chicago Blackhawks. Rinne's not only the single biggest reason the Predators beat the Blackhawks so handily, he's the most valuable player through round one across all teams.

Anaheim Ducks - John Gibson: Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf comes close because he led all Anaheim skaters in ice-time and scoring in the first round, but Gibson's .926 save percentage, including a .977 at even strength, gives him the edge.

Edmonton Oilers - Cam Talbot: The Oilers weren't even pushed to the series limit against the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks, in spite of the fact that Connor McDavid was held to just 4 points in 6 games. Other players like Adam Larsson stepped up, but Talbot's .927 save percentage was the biggest reason Edmonton was able to fend off the Sharks, especially given that Martin Jones (.935) was even better.

Round two of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs kicks off tonight with St. Louis-Nashville and Anaheim-Edmonton. Ottawa-New York and Washington-Pittsburgh begins their series' tomorrow.

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Shawn's a writer for The Leafs Nation and a Web Content Manager for NHL Numbers. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnReis
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