A wonderful NFL season continues into week 3 this week as we start to weed out the contenders from the pretenders. In a highly entertaining season so far, this week we'll look at three games involving the Kansas City Chiefs facing the Indianapolis Colts, the Detroit Lions taking on the Minnesota Vikings and also the Atlanta Falcons' clash against the Seattle Seahawks. […]
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Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews Is Favorite For Conn Smythe Trophy
With the Western Conference champion Blackhawks and Eastern Conference winning Lightning facing off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night in Tampa, Bovada has released its updated Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Before the playoffs started, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the favorite but he was beaten in Game 7 by Tampa in the East Finals. So the new favorite at +350 is Blackhawks center and captain Jonathan Toews.
Toews, Kane, Richards Can Join Exclusive Club
When the Hawks won their first of two Stanley Cups this decade in 2010, Toews won the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP (it's for the entire playoffs, not just the Stanley Cup Finals). In those playoffs, when Toews was only 22, he had 29 points (7 goals, 22 assists) in 22 games. Chicago beat Philadelphia in six games in the finals.
Toews has nine goals and nine assists in these playoffs and is plus-5. In the West Finals against Anaheim, Toews became the first player in Stanley Cup playoff history to have multiple goals in Games 5 and 7 on the road in the same series. Currently only five players in NHL history have been declared the playoff MVP at least twice (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent). Toews' teammate, Patrick Kane, is the +450 third favorite. He won the Conn Smythe in 2013 when Chicago beat Boston in the finals.
Chicago's Duncan Keith has the shortest odds among defense. If Keith wins it, he’ll be the first defensemen to get the trophy since Scott Niedermayer in 2007. Keith certainly deserves consideration as he’s been averaging 31:35 minutes per game. He has played almost 70 more minutes than the next highest player in the playoffs. He's also far and away the top blue-line scorer with 18 points. Keith has won the Norris Trophy twice as the league’s best defenseman. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time All-Star and a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. But with Toews, Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on his team, he often flies a bit under the radar. Keith’s plus-11 rating is tied with Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman for the best in the league, and the Hawks have controlled more than 56 percent of shot attempts with Keith on the ice — the fifth-best possession number in the league.
The long shot at +5000 is Blackhawks second-line center Brad Richards. He won the Conn Smythe in 2004 when he led Tampa Bay to its only Stanley Cup Finals, and the Lightning beat Calgary in seven games for the title.
Tampa's top current favorite is undrafted Tyler Johnson. With a playoff-best 12 goals and 21 assists, Johnson has been the Lightning's best player. He is the center of the spectacular productive "Triplets" line between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. The 24-year-old Johnson has scored on a consistent basis and in big moments.
Full Bovada List
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 7/2
Tyler Johnson (TB) 4/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 9/2
Ben Bishop (TB) 5/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 8/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 12/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB) 15/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) 25/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 25/1
Victor Hedman (TB) 35/1
Valtteri Filppula (TB) 40/1
Alex Killorn (TB) 40/1
Ondrej Palat (TB) 40/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI) 40/1
Brad Richards (CHI) 50/1
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