The Conn Smythe Watch

Who has the early edge in the Conn Smythe race?

5/26/13 in NHL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

May 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) skates up ice against the New  York Rangers in game two of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY SportsWe’re about halfway through the 2013 playoffs, so it’s fair to take a look at the leading candidates for this year’s Conn Smythe Award.  Of course the next two rounds matter the most, but it certainly helps to be off to the strongest start…
 
5. Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks
 
The young Center leads the Sharks in points through 9 games with 11.  He’s scored the game-winner in both of his team’s wins against the Kings and if he can help lead San Jose to two straight wins to take the series, he’ll continue to rise up the list.  
 
4. Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit Red Wings
 
Without Howard in net, the Wings would surely not be up 3-1 against the Blackhawks right now.  In fact, they quite possibly wouldn’t have gotten past Anaheim in round one.  Detroit has one of the most vulnerable defensive lines across the 7 remaining playoff teams, but Howard has still recorded a save percentage of .929 with a goals against average of 2.21.  Jonathan Quick’s numbers are better overall, but Howard’s had to deal with tougher opponents, more consistent pressure, and overall a higher shot count - 353 shots against versus Quick’s 330.
 
3. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
 
Pittsburgh’s top defender has been an all-out stud so far this playoffs.  His 16 points are tied with Evgeni Malkin for the team lead and his 13 assists lead all skaters in the postseason.  But he’s off course been equally effective on the defensive end, posting a team-best 7 +/-.   Teammates Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, James Neal, and Malkin are all on the Conn Smythe radar as well, but Letang has the leg-up at this point.
 
May 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) makes a save in the second period of game one of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports2. Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings
 
In the 47-year history of the Conn Smythe Award, there have only been two players to take it home back-to-back seasons: Bernie Parent in 1974 and 1975 and Mario Lemieux in 1991 and 1992.  Can Quick become number 3?  His Kings are a win away from the Western Conference Finals and he’s currently posting a 1.50 goals against average and a .948 save percentage, both figures well above his season averages of 2.45 and .902.  If the Kings keep winning, the double Conn Smythe is in solid reach for Quick.
 
1. David Krejci, C, Boston Bruins
 
With 17 points in 11 games, Krejci has been a stud for the Bruins so far this postseason.  He’s recorded a point in all but two of the Bruins playoff games and multiple points in 5 games so far.  Patrice Bergeron warrants some consideration for his game 7 heroics against Toronto, but Krejci has been the offensive star so far, picking up the slack from some of Boston’s top scorers: Tyler Seguin (1 goal, 2 assists) and Jaromir Jagr (0 goals, 4 assists).
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