Prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins were the favorites to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. However, there is another player from the Bruins who needs to be considered for the Conn Smythe Trophy and that is Patrice Bergeron according to former Bruins coach and legendary Sportsnet analyst Don ‘Grapes’ Cherry.
“He’s MVP of the playoffs as far as I’m concerned,” Cherry said during Saturday’s ‘Coach’s Corner’ segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “He doesn’t have to get points. He gets the draws towards the goal … he’s their leader.”
After back to back poor performances in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Bergeron exploded in the Bruins 7-2 win over St. Louis in Game 3 as he recorded his first points of the Stanley Cup Final with a goal and two assists. Bergeron is third on the team in points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 16 (9 goals and 7 assists), is tied with Phil Esposito for 2nd All-time in Bruins playoff scoring with 102 points.
Bergeron is the best face-off man in the NHL and is nominated for the Selke Trophy again this season for his great defensive play. Through 20 games in the playoffs, Bergeron has won 59.1 percent of his face-offs and his skill in the face-off circle was the difference as the Bruins exploded on the power play for with four goals on four shots.
Let’s not forget about the play of Rask as he remained calm and cool under pressure as Cherry mentioned on the telecast, especially when the Blues blitzed the Bruins early in the first period as they outshot them 5-0.
“Rask is the guy that held them in there with 5-0 on the shot [count],” he said. “Of course, he’s the goalie, he’s gotta do it. He is hot as a firecracker, he’s been this way through the whole playoffs.”
Rask has been the clear cut favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy and has won his last five road games with a 1.91 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in the playoffs.
Here is the full Coach’s Corner Segment on Hockey Night in Canada and see if you agree with Mr. Cherry that Bergeron should be the Bruins Playoff MVP?