Only five players have won multiple Conn Smythe Trophies as the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin is potentially poised to join that group as the new betting favorite at Sports Interaction.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were largely dominated at home in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals by the newbie Nashville Predators. In Game 1, the Predators outshot the Penguins 26-12, but Pittsburgh won 5-3. In Game 2, the Preds outshot the Pens 38-27 and dominated on faceoffs but allowed three third-period goals to lose 4-1.
The Finals will be played in Nashville for the first time ever on Saturday night, and Sports Interaction has updated NHL odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Needless to say, the top of the list is full of Penguins because they appear poised to win a second straight Cup.
Only five players have won multiple Conn Smythe Trophies, and they are five of the greatest players of all time: Patrick Roy (3), Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr and Bernie Parent (all with 2). If you are surprised that the legendary Gordie Howe never won the award, that’s because the NHL has only been giving it out since the 1964-65 season.
The current betting favorite is Pittsburgh winger Evgeni Malkin at -105; he also won the award in 2009. Malkin leads the Penguins with 26 points and 17 assists in these playoffs and is plus-10. He has found the net in both games against Nashville. Sidney Crosby, the 2016 Conn Smythe winner, is +280. He’s second on the team with 22 points (7G, 15A).
The first Predator is goaltender Pekka Rinne at +900. He has not been good in the Finals with a 4.69 GAA and .778 save percentage and was pulled from Game 2. As of this writing, Coach Peter Laviolette hasn’t said that Rinne would start Game 3. Rinne posted a .976 save percentage against Chicago in the first round (.991 at even-strength), a .932 save percentage against St. Louis in the second round and a .925 save percentage against Anaheim in the third round. It’s hard to imagine Laviolette would go to young Juuse Saros, who has all of 22 games of NHL experience.
Nashville is a -130 favorite at SBR’s top sportsbooks for Game 3 on Saturday to make this a series.