Wednesday April 28th, 2010

1. Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings. Maybe it was the thought of turning 40. Maybe it was failing to finish among the finalists for the Norris Trophy for the first time in 12 years. Or maybe it was just a great player reacting to a critical moment in the way that great ones do. Whatever the reason, Detroit's captain lived up to the letter on his chest, guiding his teammates to a dominating 6-1 Game 7 win over the Coyotes (RECAP | BOX SCORE) . Lidstrom showed incredible patience with his behind-the-net set up of Pavel Datsyuk's critical first goal, scored the third and sixth himself on power plays and controlled the defensive zone with flawless positioning and keen reads.

2. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings. After being silenced in Sunday's embarrassing Game 6 loss, the Wings' best players were challenged to live up to their paper in Game 7. Datsyuk was the first to respond, opening the scoring on a power play 2:01 into the second before adding another just 1:41 later with one of those plays that's destined to become a highlight reel staple. It was classic Datsyuk, finishing a breakaway with a backhand fake that led to a forehand wrister that beat Ilya Bryzgalov high and sucked much of the life out of the gritty but overmatched Coyotes.

3. Ilya Bryzgalov, Coyotes. Outside of Brad Stuart's post-penalty breakaway goal, this was a first star performance from Phoenix's heroic keeper. He managed to hold the Wings off the board during a 17-shot first period blitz, before finally being beaten four times during a 22-shot second. In all, he faced 50 Detroit bids on the night, a total that only begins to hint at the quality of his effort on the night.

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