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Top 5 Performers from the Opening Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is in the books, with a crop of familiar names leading the way with their performances. Here's a look at some of the best.

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is in the books, with a crop of familiar names leading the way with their performances. 

As he was in the regular season, Connor McDavid was the league’s leading scorer in round one, but he wasn’t alone in unforgettable efforts. Here are the top five performers from round one of the NHL playoffs, excluding players who were eliminated -- sorry, Jake Oettinger:

Carter Verhaeghe, Florida Panthers
His two points per game were tied with only Connor McDavid among forwards in round one, but what is more impressive about Verhaeghe was how, and when, he scored. All 12 of Carter Verhaeghe’s points in Florida’s six game series win over the Washington Capitals came at even strength. Watching the league’s elite dangle on the power play is one thing, but to generate the offense Verhaeghe did five-on-five is another. Add that Verhaeghe scored three game-winning goals, two in overtime, and he was not only Florida’s top player in round one, but would have earned his share of MVP votes league-wide. Florida scored 20 goals in round one, and Verhaeghe had points on 12. Enough said.

Cale Makar, D (Colorado)

Makar's 2.5 points per game were tops among all players despite playing just four games. Makar dismantled the Nashville Predators at both ends, making the opposition look silly on several occasions. Averaging 25:26 time-on-ice per game, Makar scored 60 percent of his points at even strength, and was easily Colorado’s best player. It’s enough trying to figure out how to score against a defender like Makar, but the St. Louis Blues will certainly be worried about how to stop Makar on the attack as well in the second round.

Connor McDavid - Edmonton Oilers - When his team needed him, Connor McDavid proved he is still the best forward in the world. McDavid topped all scorers with 14 points, aided by going the full seven games. Similar to Makar and Verhaeghe, he did much of his damage at even strength and McDavid was on the ice for 20 of Edmonton’s 26 goals in the series.

Jacob Markstrom - Calgary Flames - Criticized after allowing four goals against in game six, some chose to overlook how incredible Markstrom was in Calgary’s series win over the Dallas Stars. In seven games, he had a 1.53 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.  Markstrom gave the Flames a chance to win each night, shutting out Dallas to open the series, and allowing only a single goal in games four and five. If another goaltender were to join Markstrom on this list, it would have been his counterpart, Jake Oettinger, who was spectacular for Dallas, but to the winner goes the spoils, so Markstrom gets the nod. Heading into the Battle of Alberta, Calgary, on paper, will have an advantage in net.

Adam Fox - New York Rangers - No advancing player spent more time on the ice in the first round. Fox averaged 28:23 per night, a stat impacted by multiple overtime games, including the triple-overtime marathon in game one. Fox is the reigning Norris Trophy winner and was only the second blueliner, alongside Bobby Orr, to earn the trophy prior to playing three seasons in the league. In overtime of Game 7, Fox assisted on Artemi Panarin’s series-clinching goal, his 10th point of the series. Alongside K’Andre Miller on New York’s blue line, the duo controlled the pace of play at both ends of the ice.



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