1. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins. No-brainer here. Not only did he finish with a hat trick and an assist, he even put up the dukes in the 7-4 Penguins win (RECAP | BOX). The Russian center took the game by the horns and made it cry uncle as he dominated, skating circles around Carolina's defense. His parents, in attendance Thursday night, have become a staple in Mellon Arena, and made his life in Pittsburgh much better. His mother's cooking, he says, has been great to have again before games.
2. Sidney Crosby, Penguins. Despite playing second fiddle to Malkin Thursday, he had a quiet three points, including the opening goal of the game at 1:51. It was the sixth playoff game where the captain broke the ice, tying an NHL record. He continues to make those around him better.
3. Chris Kunitz, Penguins. The winger got the monkey off his back, finally netting his first playoff goal since May 2007. Even though he'd been goalless for 19 games, going back into the regular season, head coach Dan Bylsma said he wasn't worried because his other contributions have been enough. The winger also had two assists, making Game 2 his first three-point game since March.
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