The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing and the league’s top players are showing out. As I write this, every single first-round series is 2-1 in games. This shows how much parody the league has now and that anyone could move on to the next round. So now that we have established that the NHL Playoffs are impossible to predict, I am going to give you the way-too-early Conn Smythe leaders after only three games.
Way-Too-Early Conn Smythe Leaders
Chris Kreider has jumped out to an incredible start to the postseason with a league-leading five goals in the first three games. He has been a disrupting presence, to say the least, in front of the Devils’ net. Kreider tipped in four goals in the first two games of the series. All of which came on the power-play. This helped the Rangers take both games in New Jersey by an identical score of 5-1 before heading back home for a pivotal game three. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, they fell short to the Devils on home ice by a score of 2-1 in overtime with their lone goal coming from, you guessed it, Chris Kreider.
After tallying 99 points during the regular season, Mitch Marner has upped the level of his play in the first three games of the playoffs. He already has a whopping eight points in just three games including a pair of goals. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in an absolute war with the Tampa Bay Lightning. And game three exemplified just how even the series is. The Leafs scored the tying goal with just 60 seconds left in the third period on an assist from Marner. They then won it in overtime to take the series lead, two games to one. Mitch Marner is a huge reason they have the lead at this point. He has multiple points in all three games and if they end up winning the series, he will be a huge reason why.
Our lone defenceman in our way-too-early Conn Smythe leaders is Adam Fox. He began the playoffs with a four-assist game to help the Rangers win game one on the road. Fox now has a total of six assists which is tied with Marner for most in the playoffs so far and he alone has the most points by a defenceman. Incredibly, Fox has registered a point on more than half of the Rangers’ goals during the postseason thus far. Clearly, the success of the team offensively is running through him. But offence isn’t the only thing Fox has excelled at. New York has held a highly-skilled, Devils team to only four total goals in the first three games. One of which was in overtime so they have allowed only 1 goal in regulation in each game. That is a winning recipe in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team’s best defenceman is leading the charge
Perhaps the most impressive player in the playoffs so far has been, Wild Goaltender, Filip Gustavsson. He is the only player in the postseason who hasn’t lost a game as Marc-Andre Fleury started Game 2 for Minnesota. But the numbers for Gustavsson are eye-popping. He has a save percentage of .961 and a goals-against average of just 1.16. To add to the craziness, those are his first two career playoff games. The Wild will be a tough team to beat with him in goal but the question is, will he be?
The Wild have alternated goalies all year long and have stated that they will do the same for the playoffs. But will they go back on their word so quickly after seeing how well Gustavsson has played? Frankly, it would be wild if they don’t (no pun intended). Not only has Gustavsson played so well, but his counterpart looked terrible in his lone start. Fleury gave up seven goals on 31 shots, while Gustavsson has given up just three goals on a whopping 77 shots. If Gustavsson becomes the everyday starter, the Wild are going to be a tough out.
It is absurd to try to predict the Conn Smythe winners without even being halfway through the first round. But these players have started their playoff campaigns on the right foot. And if they continue to play the way they have, their teams could be in line for a deep run. So keep your eye on these way-too-early Conn Smyth leaders as the playoffs continue. And comment with your own predictions for the trophy below.
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