Tuesday May 5th, 2009

1. Simeon Varlamov, Capitals: Not to take anything away from AO and his hat trick, but it'd be criminal to overlook the effort of Varlamov, who put together his best performance of the playoffs. With the Pens trying to turn his crease into something resembling a college prank phone booth, he looked a little more scrambly than usual. Still, he made the saves he had to make, including an early combo on Sidney Crosby in close and Sergei Gonchar from the point that showed him at his acrobatic best.

2. Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals: This was the game Caps fans have been waiting for since the playoffs began last month. Ovechkin was magic, his determination matched only by his creativity. He earned his first career playoff hat trick on the strength of 12 shots on net and a nasty physical game that kept him involved from the opening faceoff.

3. Sidney Crosby, Penguins: The Pens skate back to Pittsburgh with their tails between their legs, but there can't be any criticism of Crosby's efforts. He put the team his back with a display of old-time hockey, leading the charge with a consistent physical style and paying the price to plant himself in Varlamov's grille all night long.

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