Thursday May 7th, 2009

1. Simeon Varlamov, Capitals: The legend grows, even in a losing effort. With the Caps on their heels most of the night, Varlamov's aggressive performance was all that stood between the visitors and an embarrassing blowout loss. The rookie enhanced his personal highlight reel with a number of jaw-dropping rejections, including a memorable save on Sidney Crosby in OT.

2. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins: Talk about answering the challenge. A ghost in the first two contests, Malkin slipped on the leather jacket and shades to become a Terminator on skates in Game 3. This was the sort of unstoppable effort you'd expect from an MVP candidate. At least a dozen quality scoring chances originated on his blade including the go-ahead goal late in the third.

3. Jussi Jokinen, Hurricanes: At this point, is there any better bet for a game-winning goal than the season's best waiver wire pickup? After Sergei Samsonov undressed Zdeno Chara and launched a backhander at Tim Thomas early in the extra frame, Jokinen went hard to the net, beat Aaron Ward to the rebound and buried it for his first career playoff OT winner.

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