Thursday May 14th, 2009

1. Sidney Crosby, Penguins: Crosby answered the bell in the first Game 7 of his career, netting the critical opening goal with a power play tap in before writing a dramatic denouement. He closed out the scoring by stealing the puck from his rival Alexander Ovechkin at the Pittsburgh blueline then racing alone through three zones before snapping it through the legs of Jose Theodore. In the battle of the game's two marquee stars, Crosby is the one who moves on to the next round . . . and based on his two-way play, he was the more deserving.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: Both goals he allowed were a little soft (try not to handle the puck too much in the next series, OK?), but Fleury was there with the big saves exactly when Pittsburgh needed them. He stoned Ovechkin twice in the opening minutes to keep the game on an even keel, but his best stop might have been on a Viktor Kozlov bid moments after the Pens had opened a two-goal lead. By shutting the door quickly on a Caps counterstrike, Fleury avenged his sloppy play in Game 6.

3. Miroslav Satan, Penguins: All right, grant me a little leeway here. Even with a two-assist performance, Satan might be a borderline choice. Still, he made the most of his ice time, involving himself in the play and helping spark Pittsburgh's second line in a way Petr Sykora failed to do earlier in the series.

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