Pittsburgh-Washington: And Your Second-Round MVP Is...?

Chris MillerCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

MVP honors for the second round series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins remain up for grabs.

In this seven game classic series, it all came down to the final game, and Game Seven, well, wasn't what it was made out to be.

Pittsburgh took control of the game midway through the first period and never looked back, defeating Washington 6-2 and punching a ticket into the Eastern Conference Finals.

The MVP is determined to be the most important player on the ice for their respective team.  One who leads the way. One who, without him, a team would be extremely vulnerable.

And now, presented to you, are the finalists for MVP of the Pittsburgh/Washington series.


Alexander Ovechkin

The fine print—8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points. A plus-five in the series with 41 shots in seven games.

He led everyone on the ice in point production and shots.  Ovechkin created plays when necessary.  He laid his body on the line more often than not, on the end of both giving and taking huge physical contact.

One may dislike his maturity and attitude on the ice, but one must respect the incredible talent Ovechkin showcases every game.

And in this series, Ovechkin figured in on 64 percent of Washington's goals scored, tallying a goal or an assist on 14 of the 22 goals scored by the Capitals in the series.

Who can say that without him, the series might have been a laugher.


Sidney Crosby

The fine print—8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points.  A plus-four in the series with 32 shots on goal.

Crosby made the most out of his shots, totalling a .250 shooting percentage. Known for his creativity and knack for setting up goals, Crosby delivered an equal amount of goals to Ovechkin, and most importantly, showed up for Game Seven.

Sidney Crosby showed everyone why he should rise above the likes of Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, who tended to sit in the back seat in round two. 

In the head-to-head duel between Crosby and Ovechkin, Ovechkin won the points battle, but Crosby hand delivered the final blow to the Capitals, registering a three point effort in Game Seven to send the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals.


Rob Scuderi

Looking at statistics won't tell you much. It won't gain consideration for MVP votes. But Scuderi was a beast in this series.

Scuderi's assignment in the second round was none other than Alex Ovechkin. 

Ovechkin scored eight goals, but without Scuderi, he would've scored many more.

Countless times Scuderi faced Ovechkin in one-on-one situations where the slick handed sniper attempted to either bully and dance his way through or gain space while closing in for a deadly wrist shot.

Scuderi withstood the challenge.

The defenseman showed Penguin and hockey fans around the world watching this series just how under the radar he's been this season.

The New York native established himself as a shut down defenseman elite players must avoid.

Even Ovechkin took notice, choosing to target other defenseman as the series progressed rather than attempt to exploit Scuderi.

He won't score many goals, and he won't move the puck as well as other players, but he defines the word that is his position-defenseman.

No one else proved more valuable on the blue line than Rob Scuderi.


Simeon Varlamov

Alright, this one's a bit controversial, but one has to make a case for it.

Varlamov kept Washington in this series.

Washington was outshot in this series every single game. In certain games, the shot disparity was incredible.

While his counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury finally showed up in Game Seven, Varlamov stood tall right up until the very end.

Of course, Game Seven didn't see much of Varlamov, but without him, Washington surely wouldn't have made it that far.


Honorable Mentions

Several role players contributed to their teams success in the second round.

Max Talbot energized a second line, replacing the struggling Petr Sykora. Talbot's hard-nosed mentality, speed, and ability to cover for pinching defenseman allowed Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko to create scoring opportunities.

Miroslav Satan dressed for the first time in the series back in Game Three and never disappointed. Satan proved a valuable commodity, registering four assists in his five games played.

His dedication to fore-checking and back-checking was missing during the regular season, but in the playoffs so far, the Penguins see a much different skater roaming the ice.

Nicklas Backstrom proved to be the only other player outside of Ovechkin to consistently contribute for Washington. Backstrom registered at least a point in all but one game.  Unfortunately, that game was Game Seven, where no one showed up for Washington.

So now you, the fan, decide the second round MVP. Several players played key roles in not only how the series turned out, but how it got as far as it did. If there's someone else in mind not included in the feature, be sure to speak your mind.


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