by PuckStopsHere on 05/05/13 at 04:53 PM ET
It's still early in the playoffs but each team has played at least two games. It is probably too early to pick a meaningful MVP of the playoffs but I have always been interested in the question of when an award winner first emerges so it is helpful to make picks for awards early and see if those picks are still standing when the award is given out.
In most series the story has been how low scoring things have been. There have been four shutouts so far. No team has scored more than five goals in any given game. It is hard to pick an MVP because we are picking a best player from half a week of play. Nevertheless my pick right now is Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. Holtby has stopped 58 of 59 shots so far in two games with one going into overtime. While he hasn't really stolen either game his strong goaltending is a reason that Washington leads their series 2-0. It is hard to lose a series when you allow only one goal.
Holtby has a history of strong play in the first round of the playoffs. He played a strong first round series in 2012 beating then reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. It looks like he could do the same against reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist this year. Will he last as playoff MVP? Probably not, but if Washington has a strong playoff run it isn't impossible.
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