1 Craig Anderson, Senators -- The formula's pretty simple. For a No. 8 seed to even entertain the thought of rousting the top seed from the playoffs, it needs some clutch scoring, contributions from an unsung hero and some Ronnie Biggs-type thievery between the pipes. The Senators got all three tonight, including a pair of goals from Jason Spezza -- his first in the series -- and a stellar debut from Mark Stone, the Team Canada World Junior star who made the most of his chance with a physical presence and a slick pass to set up Spezza's game-winner.
But in the end it was Anderson who stole the show with a sensational performance in the 2-0 Game 5 win for the Senators. His 41 saves -- including a couple of stunners on Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky -- set a franchise record for the most ever in a playoff shutout and vaulted Ottawa to within one win of a significant upset.
"I just stayed in the moment, one shot at a time," Anderson told CBC after the game. "It was just a matter of making the next save for the guys."
2. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks -- I'll admit it: I tweeted before the start of overtime that I was picking Shane Doan to end it for the Coyotes ... and wasn't even bothering to pick a Blackhawk. The reason? The way the game had gone, it just felt as though nothing was going to get by Phoenix stopper Mike Smith ... and almost anything could sneak past Chicago's Corey Crawford.
But the 'Hawks dominated the extra session, outshooting the Coyotes 4-1 and playing with the desperation of a team that wasn't even close to being ready to hang up their skates for the summer.
With a faceoff to the left of Smith, Toews, who went 14-4 on the night, was the obvious choice to take the draw. He sent the puck to the boards, helped Viktor Stalberg win the battle, then wristed the game-winner over the right shoulder of Smith just 2:44 into OT.
3. Jose Theodore, Panthers -- Along with Anderson, Theodore was one of three ex-Avalanche goaltenders to backstop Game 5 wins today -- a nod to the third, St. Louis' Brian Elliott, and to my colleague Adrian Dater for pointing it out -- but Theodore was the only one to make it rain rats.
New Jersey's Zach Parise called him "lucky," but Theodore was full value for the critical 3-0 Game 5 win over the Devils. His 30 saves included a pair of door-steppers on Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac in the first and sealed just the third playoff shutout in franchise history.
Theodore, who was pulled after a shaky start in Game 3, paid tribute to Martin Broduer after the win. "We both want to show pride," he said. "Growing up, Marty was a [role] model for me. Seeing him bounce back [in Game 4 after being pulled in Game 3] was inspiring. I wanted to do the same thing, and show that same pride."