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playoffs

Sidney Crosby of Penguins wins Conn Smythe, spot on playoff all-star team

Pekka Rinne of Predators also among NHL.com postseason award winners

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

NASHVILLE -- So much happened throughout the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially during the Final.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the second straight season after a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Crosby receives Conn Smythe Trophy

But there were so many unbelievable performances throughout the postseason that the best way to document the caliber of play and the quality of those performances is to give out playoff versions of four of the most important regular-season awards and create a playoff all-star team.

 

Vezina Trophy

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Yes, he struggled on the road during the Final, but he was the MVP for the Predators and the primary reason they even made it to the Final, especially after losing top center Ryan Johansen during the Western Conference Final. The Predators dominated at home throughout the postseason because Rinne allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 11 games at Bridgestone Arena. His goals-against average of 1.96 was second among goalies who played at least 10 games, and his .930 save percentage was third.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Rinne staves off Crosby's one-timer

 

Norris Trophy

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

The Penguins didn't have a dominant defenseman, and the Predators had a bit of a defense by committee, but Josi stood out in the end. He averaged 25:45 of ice time, more than any player who reached the Final, and he was given the primary shutdown role against Crosby's line. Josi was on the ice for seven of the 17 even-strength goals scored by the Penguins in the series. He had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 22 playoff games.

 

Calder Trophy

Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins

Not only was Guentzel the best rookie in the 2017 playoffs, he had an all-time great performance. His 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) tied the record for points by a rookie in one postseason, joining Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars in 1981 and Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010. Guentzel led all scorers with 13 goals and had five game-winning goals, including Game 1 and Game 2 of the Final.

 Video: Guentzel on winning the Stanley Cup

 

Jack Adams Award

Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins

There's no argument here. Sullivan has coached in the Stanley Cup Final twice, and each time his run has ended with his team lifting the trophy. This spring he made a difficult goalie switch from Marc-Andre Fleury to Matt Murray during the Eastern Conference Final that paid huge dividends. He stuck with Guentzel when the rookie forward struggled during the Eastern Conference Final. He mixed and matched on defense to overcome the loss of No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang before the playoffs started. He also minimized the effects of losing valuable center Nick Bonino in Game 2 of the Final.

 

All-Star Team

Goalie: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

He was the man for the Predators throughout the playoffs. Rinne allowed three goals in a four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and then frustrated the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks before he started to struggle against the Penguins in the Final.

 

Defenseman: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

He was the top dog among the four-man defense rotation that was integral to the Predators' success in the playoffs. Josi played the most minutes, scored the most points and drew the most difficult assignments.

 Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Josi hammers home slapper for PPG

 

Defenseman: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

He didn't play in the Final, but his 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) led all defensemen in the playoffs. Karlsson averaged 28:07 of ice time in 19 games and is one of two defensemen to score more than one game-winning goal.

 

Forward: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Crosby averaged 1.13 points per game during the playoffs, second among players with more than 10 games to Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers (1.23). Crosby delivered every time his team needed him most. In Game 5 of the Final, he set the tone with a dominating shift to start the game and had three assists in a 6-0 victory that was the beginning of the end for the Predators. He had 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 24 games.

 

Forward: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

He led all scorers in the postseason with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 25 games. Malkin was a threat in almost every game and never went more than two games without a point. He was especially dangerous when the Penguins were up a man; his 11 power-play points tied teammate Phil Kessel for the playoff lead.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Malkin picks the corner late in 1st

 

Forward: Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins

Kessel was a bit streakier than Crosby or Malkin, but when he was on he was as dangerous as any player in the postseason. His 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) were third in the playoffs; five of his eight goals and 11 of his 23 points came on the power play. He was also plus-12, best among Pittsburgh's forwards.

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