It’s still just a bit early to debate candidates for playoff MVP.
Except in sports talk radio, where three hours is a long time.
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby lead the charge for the Penguins, ranking 1-2 in playoff scoring. If Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne regroups from his disaster Monday night, he’s the Predators’ leading candidate.
But if Pens winger Jake Guentzel has a big final series, he’s got to be considered for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Guentzel leads the playoffs in goals (10) and game-winning goals (4). He’s already set a rookie record for game-winning goals in the post-season. Guentzel’s tally out of nowhere decided Game 1 of the final.
Guentzel is a legit candidate.
Rookies have won the Smythe before, but they were all goalies: Montreal’s Ken Dryden in 1971, Montreal’s Patrick Roy in 1986, Philadelphia’s Ron Hextall in 1987, and Carolina’s Cam Ward in 2006.
Hextall’s Conn Smythe was earned in a losing effort. Of course.