2011 NHL Playoffs: MVPs of Each 1st-Round Series

April WeinerCorrespondent IMay 2, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs: MVPs of Each 1st-Round Series

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers shakes hands with Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres after the Flyers defeated the Sabres 5 to 2 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    There is only one MVP of the NHL playoffs—the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy after the Stanley Cup Finals.

    However, there are many players who deserve recognition for things they do in the series leading up to the Cup.

    Since only two teams will make it to the Finals, most of these players will not be given an award.

    If the NHL awarded an MVP for each series of each round, here are the players that would have won for each of the conference quarterfinals.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes: Pavel Datsyuk

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    DETROIT, MI - APRIL 16: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on April 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Pho
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Pavel Datsyuk overtook Alex Ovechkin as this year's winner of the Kharlamov Trophy, the NHL's best Russian player, and it is easy to see why.

    Datsyuk accumulated a team-leading six points during the Detroit Red Wings sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

    Those six points included two goals and four assists.

    Datsyuk was also a team-leading plus-six in the series.

Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers: Michal Neuvirth

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29:  Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinal during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Verizon Center on April 29, 2011 in W
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    The Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers in five games, with much help from rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

    Neuvirth posted a .946 save percentage and a league-leading goals-against average of 1.38 versus the Rangers.

    The numbers don't tell the whole story though.

    Amidst all the questions about the Capitals and their young goaltending, Neuvirth was a rock, making the saves needed to help his team advance.

    The Capitals couldn't have advanced as quickly, perhaps not even at all, without him.

Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks: Mike Fisher

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    One of the newer members of the Nashville Predators has quickly made his presence known in the Predators postseason, helping them to their first playoff series win in franchise history.

    In the first game of the Western Conference quarterfinals series against the Anaheim Ducks, Mike Fisher tallied two goals and one assist and was a plus-two in the Preds' 4-1 win.

    Fisher amassed a total of six points in the series, evenly split at three goals and three assists, for the team lead in postseason scoring.

    Fisher even fought Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Fisher.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens: Patrice Bergeron

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    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23:  Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal with teammates Mark Recchi #28 and Patrice Bergeron #37  in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April
    Elsa/Getty Images

    "When it comes to playoffs, he's one of those guys you can rely one, depend on and, again, arguably our best forward in this series so far,” Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien said about Patrice Bergeron.

    He's not just their best forward, but arguably the Bruins' best player from the series.

    On offense, Bergeron tallied seven points against the Montreal Canadiens with two goals and five assists.

    He was a plus-five in the series, with 22 hits as well.

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Joe Thornton

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    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Los Angeles Kings in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 23, 2011 in San Jose, Californi
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks have been labelled "chokers" in the playoffs.

    That may change after this year though. The Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings in six games.

    Thornton tallied five points in the series, two goals and three assists, including the game- and series-winning goal in Game 6.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: Dwayne Roloson

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 27:  Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning protects the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 27,
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    The Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning series truly was the battle of the better goaltender. It looked like the early winner would be Marc-Andre Fleury.

    Yet, the Lightning battled back, with Dwayne Roloson backing them up.

    The Bolts forced a Game 7, in which "Roli the Goalie" was perfect; he shut out the Penguins for the win.

    Roloson's save percentage at the end of the series was a league-leading .949 for the first round, and a GAA of 1.77—second for goalies in the postseason.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Alexandre Burrows

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Alexandre Burrows #14 (right) of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks after scoring the game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the overtime period in Game Seven of t
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Alexandre Burrows was the reason the Vancouver Canucks finally defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs, to advance to the second round.

    Burrows got the scoring started in Game 7 just less than three minutes into the game. He would also score the game-winning goal in OT.

    In total, Burrows tallied three goals and three assists against Chicago.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres: Danny Briere

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Braydon Coburn #5, Claude Giroux #28 and Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate a first period goal against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley C
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    A lot was made of Danny Briere facing his former team for the first time in the playoffs.

    Briere did not disappoint, accumulating seven points against the Sabres with six goals and one assist.

    Briere recorded a goal and an assist during the series-clinching Game 7 win.