NHL: Here are the first in class after the first round
< /p> UPDATE DAY
No one wins the Conn-Smythe Trophy after a single playoff round, but several players delivered inspiring performances to help their team take the first step towards winning the Stanley Cup.
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Here is the top of the class from each club still in contention in the National Hockey League (NHL):
New Jersey Devils: Akira Schmid
The Devils were completely dropped after the first two games of their series against the New York Rangers. Head coach Lindy Ruff has decided to send goalkeeper Akira Schmid into the fray and today he is seen as a true genius. The 22-year-old masked man maintained a .951 save percentage and had two shutouts in five games.
Vegas Golden Knights: Mark Stone
The Golden Knights captain hadn't played since Jan. 12 when he laced up his skates for Game 1 against the Winnipeg Jets. Stone definitely didn't look like a rusty player. He scored three goals and was instrumental in five of his teammates' successes in five games. His eight points tie him with Chandler Stephenson for the Golden Knights' scoring lead after one round.
Carolina Hurricanes: Sebastian Aho
The center player that Marc Bergevin eyed in the summer of 2019 was excellent in allowing the “Canes” to defeat the New York Islanders in six games. The 25-year-old Finn hit the target four times and provided three assists for seven points. Aho also took the opportunity to become the all-time leading scorer for the Hurricanes/Whalers, who now has 22 goals in the playoffs.
Seattle Kraken: Philipp Grubauer
It's hard to pick a representative for the Kraken, considering everyone's pitched in to end the reigning champions' season. No player on the NHL's 32nd team has scored more than two goals against the Colorado Avalanche. Grubauer, however, deserves the spotlight for his 214 saves in seven games, a high among all goaltenders who saw action in Round 1.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner< /h3>
Marner has been doing what he knows how to do best since the start of the playoffs. The playmaker had nine assists in six games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The forward also had two goals in the series that finally put the Maple Leafs through the opening round for the first time in 19 years.
Edmonton Oilers: Leon Draisaitl
< p>No, Connor McDavid is not the Oilers' best player right now. It is Draisaitl who deserves this title after being dominant in all three areas of the ice during the clash against the Los Angeles Kings. The German had seven goals and four assists for 11 points in six games, one more than “McJesus”.
Florida Panthers: Matthew Tkachuk
Matthew Tkachuk is the heart and soul of the Panthers. Besides being amazing with the puck on his stick, he hits anything that moves on the ice surface. His stellar performance against the Boston Bruins demonstrates why the Panthers did well to pay the moon to get him from the Calgary Flames last summer. Tkachuk has five goals and six assists for 11 points in seven games so far.
Dallas Stars: Roope Hintz
Texans center at the top of NHL scoring after the first round. Hintz had five goals and seven assists for 12 points in six games against the Minnesota Wild. He is the only skater to maintain a two-point-per-game pace since the start of the Spring Dance, despite losing winger Joe Pavelski in the first game.