Saturday May 2nd, 2009

1. Nick Lidstrom, Red Wings: The captain wasn't on the ice all night, though you can be forgiven for thinking he was. Lidstrom's 27-plus minutes of work was highlighted by some remarkable work in his own zone (including adjusting seamlessly to new partner Jonathan Ericsson) and a pair of goals, including the game winner. His blast from the point was rejected with less than a minute to play, but Lidstrom pounced on a fat rebound, drove to the net and buried a wrister between Jonas Hiller's inexplicably open legs to seal Detroit's seventh consecutive series-opening win.

2. Tim Thomas, Bruins: Conventional wisdom suggests you can't go wrong by crashing the net, right? So it's little wonder the Canes went hard at Thomas. Unfortunately for Carolina, Boston's Vezina-nominated stopper is as different mentally as he is stylistically. Other goalies might be thrown off their rhythm by an assault like Ryan Bayda's hard charge on Jussi Jokinen's goal, but the feisty Thomas simply got fired up. After allowing that late-first period marker, Thomas slammed the gate making 26 stops to lead the Bruins to a lopsided Game 1 win.

3. Marc Savard, Bruins: Do you think anyone in Boston misses Joe Thornton when they see the heart-and smarts-that Savard displays? He was physical along the boards, he was tenacious in his own zone and he did exactly what an elite passer has to do to open up the lanes-when a shot was there, he took it. Savard buried two of those chances on the night, including a low slapper in the third period that left Cam Ward looking as awkward as one of those stand-up stoppers from the '60s who'd just been burned by a Bobby Hull heater.

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