MONTREAL – The polls are closed for the first round and the people have spoken. With the first round of voting in the books, the 2008-09 battle for “Play of the Year” honors is shaping up to be the year of the underdog.
In the opening round match-ups, six of the top 10-ranked highlight reel performances lost out to lower seeded dangles and dekes. Of the top five plays, only No. 2-seeded Alex Tanguay and his nifty March 24th backhand goal against the Thrashers and Carey Price
’s fourth-overall ranked glove hand robbery on Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke have made their way into the second round.
This season’s unsung hero, Maxim Lapierre, played David to two mighty Goliath’s, with his spectacular 24th and 27th ranked goals edging out a pair of favorites in the 6th and 9th seeds respectively.
Entering the tournament with seven POY candidates, Alex Kovalev is still the heavy favorite to win it all, despite only three of those plays making their way into coveted second round positions.
Channeling his inner Babe Ruth, reigning champion Andrei Kostitsyn and his baseball-like goal against the Rangers during the team’s 99th birthday party on December 4 should not be taken lightly. The Belarusian sniper knocked a Matt D’Agostini saucer pass out of the air and into the top corner, making his case for a second straight POY title. See also:The bracket