GUENTZEL = PLAYOFF MVP DARKHORSE

posted by Mark Madden -

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.

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Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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