By Allan Muir
May 03, 2012

1. Ryan McDonagh, Rangers -- This is a triple-OT, paint-by-numbers, no-brainer selection. 53:17 of playing time. Eight blocked shots. Three hits. Nine shots directed at the Washington net. And most of those numbers accrued after he was blown up by Matt Hendricks while he tried to move the puck out of the corner. There were plenty of heroic efforts on the night (Hendricks was a beast out there for the Caps) but McDonagh may as well have slipped on a cape and a cowl. Marc Bergevin could only watch and curse his predecessor for what might have been in Montreal.

2. Pekka Rinne, Predators -- The workload was light for the first 40 minutes, but when the Preds needed him late in the third, Rinne responded with perhaps his best play of the postseason. This was Rinne at his most acrobatic, going post to post with authority, snatching wobbling pucks out of mid-air ... and just getting flat-out lucky on a couple of high-grade chances from Radim Vrbata during a 41-second PK late in the third to seal the deal on a 32-save shutout.

3. Martin Erat, Predators -- His schooling of Oliver Ekman-Larsson set up Nashville's insurance goal late in the first, but that was just his flashiest play on a night when Erat continued to establish himself as the most effective Predators forward this spring. The big winger was relentless in his puck pursuit, rushing the Coyotes into a series of low-grade decisions, and fully committed to the details of his defensive assignment. Not everything Erat does is easy to quantify, but watch him on Saturday. It says here you'll come away impressed by his all-around game.

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