After eight series, 47 games and a record 17 overtime sessions, eight teams have advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Which player was the most important to his team advancing? Well, that's an argument that likely will vary depending on which team you root for.
NHL.com gathered nine staff writers and each was asked to name his 3 Stars of the first round of the playoffs.
The voting produced an interesting trend -- the nine writers picked a total of nine players, with seven receiving multiple votes. And though some could argue the results skew toward Eastern Conference players, more Western Conference players received votes.
3 STARS OF THE FIRST ROUND
- 1. Henrik Lundqvist (5 first-place votes) -- 18 points
- 2. David Krejci (1) -- 11
- 3. Craig Anderson (1) -- 8
- 4. Joe Pavelski (1) -- 6
- 5. Patrick Sharp (1) -- 3
- 6. Henrik Zetterberg -- 3
- 7. Drew Doughty -- 2
- 8. Jonathan Quick -- 2
Others receiving votes: Logan Couture (1 point)
Here are the voting results. Note: A player received three points for a first-place vote, two for a second and one for third (number of first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (five first-place votes) -- 18 points
The Rangers goalie, nicknamed The King, earned his crown with back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 against the Washington Capitals. He became the fourth goalie in NHL history to record shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a series, following Harry Lumley of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950 semifinals, Curtis Joseph of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1998 Western Conference Quarterfinals, and the Red Wings' Dominik Hasek in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
Lundqvist had the fourth-best goals-against average (1.65) and save percentage (.947) in the first round. Though he lost three games, two were in overtime. He gave up 12 goals facing 226 shots, third-most in the first round.
"As if becoming the first goalie in 11 years to post back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series wasn't reason enough to name Lundqvist the top star of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, his incredible poise, determination and big-game presence put him over the top," staff writer Mike G. Morreale, who voted Lundqvist his No. 1 star, said. "He was there time and again when the club needed him to come up big, and he never disappointed while getting in the heads of the Capitals' players. Lundqvist was the key cog in the Rangers' seven-game series victory against the Capitals, and that included the first Game 7 road victory by the franchise in their storied history."
2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins (one first-place vote) -- 11 points
The Bruins' top-line center finished one assist shy of a first-round Triple Crown -- he led all players in goals (five) and points (13) and was second in assists (eight). He also tied for second with a plus-9 rating.
Krejci had points in six of seven games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, including three three-point games, and he capped his Game 4 hat trick with an overtime goal that gave the Bruins a 3-1 series lead.
GAA: 1.80 | SVP: 0.950
3. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (one first-place vote) -- 8 points
The longer the series went, the better Anderson got against the Montreal Canadiens. He allowed five goals in the first two games, which the teams split. But in winning the final three games, Anderson was a brick wall, letting in four goals.
He stopped 33 of 34 shots in Game 3, stopped 26 of 28 in the overtime win in Game 4, and made another 33 saves in the series-clinching 6-1 win in Montreal. And the Canadiens power play, which was fifth in the League in the regular season, was stonewalled by Anderson on 16 of 19 chances.
4. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks (one first-place vote) -- 6 points
"Little Joe" came up big for the Sharks in their first-round sweep of the Vancouver Canucks. In four games, Pavelski had four goals -- three on the power-play -- and four assists.
Pavelski didn't have a game-winning goal, but he was involved in a number of important plays throughout the series. He assisted on the game-tying and game-winning goals in Game 1; drew an assist on Patrick Marleau's game-tying goal in the final minute of Game 2; scored the first two goals of Game 3; and scored the second goal of Game 4 late in the third, which forced overtime.
5. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks (one first-place vote) -- 3 points
No player scored more goals in the first round than the five Sharp scored. It was a big change from a frustrating regular season, when he had six goals in 28 games.
Sharp started his onslaught early in the series, scoring twice in Game 2. He had another two-goal game in Game 4, and scored the final goal of the series, a power-play goal in Game 5.
Sharp's play becomes even more important when you realize the Blackhawks didn't get a single goal from Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews.
6. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings -- 3 points
When the Red Wings needed their captain to step up, Zetterberg raised his play to a level that no one with the Anaheim Ducks could match.
Zetterberg saved the Red Wings' season in Game 6, with his second goal of the game coming 1:04 into overtime. Off a faceoff in the Anaheim end, he knocked the puck away from the Ducks' Andrew Cogliano, took a return pass from Niklas Kronwall and fired a shot through traffic and past Jonas Hiller. In Game 7 his goal 1:49 into the game opened the scoring. Later, with the Red Wings leading 2-1 in the second, he drew an assist on Valtteri Filppula's goal that ended up being the series-winning score.
7. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings -- 2 points
SOG: 11 | +/-: -1
There was 381:26 of hockey played in six games, and Doughty was on the ice for 172:51 of it -- 45.3 percent. He averaged 28:49 of ice time per game and 36.2 shifts per game, including 33:37 on 37 shifts in Game 5. And he made the most of his ice time, totaling a goal and two assists -- his goal opened the scoring in the series-clinching Game 6 win.
8. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings -- 2 points
A lesser player would have been crushed by a giveaway like the one Quick had in overtime of Game 1 to gift-wrap a St. Louis Blues win. Quick shrugged it off, and after a loss in Game 2, he reminded everyone why he won the Conn Smythe Trophy last year.
Quick turned the tide in the series with a 30-save shutout in Game 3, and he allowed six goals in the final three games but managed to improve each time. He let in three goals in Game 4, two in Game 5 -- including a smooth recovery after allowing the tying goal with 44.1 seconds left in the third period -- and one on 22 shots in Game 6.
Others receiving votes: Logan Couture (1 point)
|THREE STARS OF THE FIRST ROUND|
|Shawn Roarke||Tal Pinchevsky||John Kreiser|
|1. Craig Anderson, OTT||1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR||1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR|
|2. Drew Doughty, LAK||2. David Krejci, BOS||2. Craig Anderson, OTT|
|3. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR||3. Joe Pavelski, SJS||3. David Krejci, BOS|
|Adam Kimelman||Mike G. Morreale||Brian Compton|
|1. Patrick Sharp, CHI||1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR||1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR|
|2. Henrik Zetterberg, DET||2. David Krejci, BOS||2. Jonathan Quick, LAK|
|3. Joe Pavelski, SJS||3. Joe Pavelski, SJS||3. David Krejci, BOS|
|Arpon Basu||Dan Rosen||Corey Masisak|
|1. David Krejci, BOS||1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR||1. Joe Pavelski, SJS|
|2. Craig Anderson, OTT||2. David Krejci, BOS||2. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR|
|3. Logan Couture, SJS||3. Craig Anderson, OTT||3. Henrik Zetterberg, DET|