Only one European – Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom – has been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs. That was in 2002 when the Detroit Red Wings captured their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Last season, Anaheim checking center Samuel Pahlsson received strong consideration for the award, but ultimately lost to teammate Scott Niedermayer.
Here are 10 significant post-season performances by Europeans:
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit, 2001-02 – The smooth-skating Swede scores five goals and 16 points in 23 games to win the Conn Smythe.
Pavel Bure, Vancouver, 1993-94 – The speedy sniper helps the Canucks take the Cup-winning Rangers to seven games in the final with 16 goals and 31 points in 24 games.
Peter Forsberg, Colorado, 2001-02 – After missing the entire regular season, Forsberg returned to lead the playoffs in scoring with nine goals and 27 points in just 20 games as his Avs fell in the conference final to Detroit.
Pelle Lindberg, Philadelphia, 1984-85 – He took a young Flyers team to the final on the strength of a 12-6 record with a 2.50 goals-against average.
Sergei Fedorov, Detroit, 1994-95 to 1997-98 – In four consecutive playoff years, Fedorov racked up 37 goals and 84 points in 85 post-season games, all the while playing a strong defensive game.
Nikolai Khabibulin, Tampa Bay, 2003-04 – The Lightning goalie backstops team to the Cup with a 16-7 post-season record and league-leading five shutouts.
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary, 2003-04 – In what amounted to a battle of Euro stoppers, Kiprusoff came out on the short end to Khabibulin’s Bolts, but was spectacular for the Flames nonetheless.
Alexei Kovalev, Rangers, 1993-94 – In his first trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs, sophomore Kovalev played a huge role in leading the Rangers to the championship with nine goals and 21 points in 23 games.
Jari Kurri, Edmonton, 1984-85 – So many great playoff years it’s difficult to choose one. In ’84-85, Kurri finished third in Oilers playoff scoring (behind Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey) with 19 goals and 31 points in 18 games.
Tomas Holmstrom, Detroit, 1997-98 – After scoring just five goals and 22 points in 57 regular season games, Holmstrom erupts for seven goals and 19 points in 22 playoff games.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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