Darren Eliot
Sunday May 1st, 2011

1. Pekka Rinne, Predators: For his perfect work in overtime making 18 saves, Rinne gets the top billing. He was good in regulation but hardly challenged. But in overtime -- in a game his team desperately needed -- Rinne delivered several spectacular saves -- giving his team a chance to win. Rinne was simply superb when his team needed him most. His heroics changed the complexion of this series. The Predators head home looking to count twice on home ice after Rinne made the precious pair of goals squeezed out by his squad stand up. The Canucks, meanwhile, now head to Smashville having yielded home ice advantage.

2. Matt Halischuk, Predators: A game-winning goal in the playoffs in double overtime gets you star status. Seeing that the goal made winners of the Predators in a game they deserved to prevail in, Halischuk's blast is all that more special. That the goal ended the longest game in Predators' history makes it downright noteworthy. An unlikely the hero of the moment -- fourth-line legs out there in the fifth period -- is an annual part of NHL playoff hockey.

3. Roberto Luongo, Canucks: Pressed by a desperate Predators team, Luongo turned in a stellar performance in shutting down the Preds for most of the game. In this one, he was center stage during regulation, whereas in Game 1 Luongo backstopped an impressive defensive team effort. In Game 2, the Predators were by far the better team, outshooting the Canucks 36-15. The difference? Luongo -- the best player on the ice through 58:53 of regulation time. Then, it became his counterpart's show -- ending Luongo's bid to steal this outing.

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