The Stanley Cup Playoffs have always been an intense event and this year has been no exception to that. In the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs we have seen so many close games, close series, and upsets throughout. There has been many players that have stepped up and contributed so much to their teams success. Now, The Sports Dish will recognize the players who we felt helped their teams the most in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The feel good story of the playoffs, Craig Anderson, played fantastic throughout the playoffs despite the Avalanche losing in six games. Anderson, had arguably the best game in the playoffs with a 51-save shutout against the San Jose Sharks. Although he did seem to give up a lot of goals in the playoffs, his defense wasn’t really playing their best either because he was shot on at an average of 40 times per game, and he still had a .933% save percentage.
Known as the main man who shut down the outstanding New Jersey offense this season, Chris Pronger, played great defense in about every game in the series. Pronger, was one of the reasons why Brian Boucher played so well during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In addition, he also did have two goals and three assist in the playoffs and helped the Flyers slide past the Devils.
“Defense wins games,” is a statement that many people probably doubted, until they saw how great the defense was for the Montreal Canadiens against the No. 1 seeded Washington Capitals. Down 3-1 in the series, the Canadiens really were not expected to win more than two more games of the series, but with great defense, especially Defenseman Andrei Markov’s the Canadiens shut down the strong Washing offense. Markov played great against Washington stars Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin in the final three games and in the final three games Markov and the defense held the Capitals to three goals in those three games. Markov also did finish off the series with four assist including an important one in Game Seven.