1. Jaroslav Halak, Montreal Canadiens. If you'd listened to the stunned admiration of Washington coach Bruce Boudreau on Monday night, you'd have thought his Caps had just been stoned by the ghost of Jacques Plante. "We had a lot more traffic than the other night, but everything he saw, he was gonna stop," Boudreau said of Halak, who made a career-high 53 saves in Montreal's 4-1 win. "It's frustrating when you get great chances and you're not scoring ... he was just out of his mind." So were Joe Corvo, Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin after being stoned on a trio of breathtaking scoring chances that might have turned the tide of the game, and the series, if only they'd been able to beat Halak.
2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins. With Marc Savard unable to go, the Bruins got a career-best three-point effort from their de-facto No. 1 center. Krejci netted a pair of goals in a series-clinching 4-3 win over the Sabres, including the all-important ice-breaker at 13:39 of the first. He also set up Mark Recchi's power-play goal, won 60 percent of his draws and chipped in with three hits to lead the B's into an unexpected second-round berth.
3. Tim Peel and Dan O'Rourke. I won't try to stop anyone from complaining about the quality of officiating during these playoffs -- it's been sketchy, at best -- but I will ask that we all take a moment to give credit where it's due. Peel and O'Rourke took a stand for the integrity of the game by nailing the Habs three times for diving. Best of all, Maxim Lapierre, the NHL's embarrassing answer to Cristiano Ronaldo, was dinged twice. Will that stop him from embellishing in the future? Probably not -- once a diver, always a diver. But for one night at least, the refs called him on his gutless play, and that's a win for every player who respects the game.
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