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By the Numbers: Draisaitl, goalies among Conn Smythe Trophy favourites


With the National Hockey League’s conference finals underway, it’s time to look at the early favourites for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. 

The Edmonton Oilers, who opened their Western Conference final matchup with a 3-2 double-overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday, have five of the top six scorers in the postseason. 

Pacing the way is Leon Draisaitl, who leads all players with 25 points. He has the second-most goals with nine, behind only teammate Zach Hyman’s 12.

Draisaitl has been productive at both even strength (13 points) and on the power play (12 points) and has two game-winning goals. 

One of his biggest performances was in Game 2 of the second round against the Vancouver Canucks, where he had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 overtime victory. Prior to the game, he was questionable to play due to injury. 

On the other side of the Western Conference final are the Stars, who have been led by goaltender Jake Oettinger

Oettinger has started every playoff game for Dallas, notably backstopping them to a Game 7 victory over the reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the first round before stopping 29 shots in a deciding Game 6 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in round two. 

Of the remaining goalies in the postseason, he has played the most games (14), has the second-highest save percentage (.919) and lowest goals-against average (2.10). 

In the Eastern Conference final, there is another pair of goaltenders who have been pillars for their respective teams. 

Igor Shesterkin did not have his best regular season by his lofty standards, but he has been strong for the New York Rangers in the postseason. 

Starting all 11 games, he has the highest save percentage of the remaining goaltenders at .926 with a 2.37 GAA. His eight wins tie him with Oettinger and Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner

The Rangers also have the second-best penalty kill in the playoffs at 90.2 per cent, with Shesterkin a big part of that success. However, the Rangers are averaging 32 shots against per game, putting more responsibility on their goaltender.

Shesterkin’s biggest performance so far came in the second round in Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, as he made 54 saves in a 4-3 double-overtime victory.

In the opposite net from Shesterkin is Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers. Bobrovsky got the Panthers off to a strong start in Game 1 of the East final, stopping 24 shots for a 3-0 shutout on the road. 

Bobrovsky backstopped the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final last season before Florida bowed out in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights and he has remained a wall for the Panthers in the playoffs this year. 

The 35-year-old is leading all goalies in playoff wins with nine while posting a .910 save percentage and 2.17 GAA. 

Since allowing four goals against in Game 1 of the second round against the Boston Bruins, Bobrovsky has allowed only eight goals in the past six games.