Stanley Cup

Oilers' Connor McDavid joins list of losing players to win Stanley Cup Final MVP

McDavid set a playoff record with 34 assists this postseason despite falling short in the final.

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Back-to-back four-point games in the Stanley Cup Final helped deliver the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP to Edmonton's Connor McDavid.

He just won't get to celebrate it with a championship as the Oilers star forward became the sixth player to get that prestigious award without winning the Stanley Cup.

McDavid set a playoff record with 34 assists this postseason and his 42 points ranked fourth best, trailing only two playoff runs by Wayne Gretzky (47 points in 1986 and 43 in 1988) and one by Mario Lemieux (44 in 1991). But he had no points in the final two games and ended up just short of the title after a 2-1 loss Monday night.

McDavid joins these players from losing teams to win the Conn Smythe since it was first awarded in 1965: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003 Mighty Ducks), Ron Hextall (1987 Flyers), Reggie Leach (1976 Flyers), Glenn Hall (1968 Blues) and Roger Crozier (1966 Red Wings). All but Leach are goaltenders.

The postseason MVP going to a non-champion is much more common on hockey, which hands the Conn Smythe to the MVP of the entire playoffs instead of just the final round as is done in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.

It has happened once in the championship rounds in those three leagues.


Roger Crozier

The Red Wings got into the playoffs in 1966 as the fourth seed in a six-team league but upset top-seeded Chicago in the first round thanks to Crozier allowing only six goals in the four wins.

Detroit then led Montreal two games to one in the Cup final before Crozier left Game 4 early with an injury. The Red Wings lost that game to tie the series. Crozier returned for the final two games but wasn't sharp. The Canadiens won in six, but Crozier still got the MVP.

Glenn Hall

The 1968 playoffs were the first since the NHL expanded from six teams to 12. Hall dominated the expansion half of the bracket by leading the Blues to seven-game wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota, stopping 70 of 72 shots in those two clinchers.

Hall kept St. Louis close to the established Canadiens in the Cup final that featured four one-goal games and two that went to overtime. Hall stopped 140 of 151 shots in the four-game sweep by Montreal.

Reggie Leach

The Philadelphia forward was the only skater to win the award before McDavid thanks to a remarkable scoring run throughout the postseason with a record 19 goals and five assists in 16 games.

He scored five goals in the semifinal clincher against Boston. He then scored four goals in four games of the Cup final against Montreal but the Canadiens still swept the series.

Jari Kurri tied his mark with 19 goals in 1985 but no one has surpassed it.

Ron Hextall

The Flyers rookie went 15-11 with a .908 save percentage that postseason and nearly led Philadelphia over Gretzky and the high-powered Oilers in the Cup final.

He stopped 61 of 66 shots against one of the most dynamic teams in NHL history to get wins in Games 5 and 6. He stopped 40 more shots in game 7 but the Flyers ended up on the short end of a 3-1 score.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

The Ducks entered the playoffs that season as the seventh seed in the West but made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final thanks in large part to their goalie.

Giguere set the tone by stopping 63 of 64 shots in a triple-overtime win over Detroit to open the postseason. He then shut out Dallas once in the second round and had shutouts in the first three games of the conference final against Minnesota.

He added a fifth shutout against New Jersey in Game 4 of the final to improve to 7-0 in overtime that postseason. But he lost 3-0 in Game 7 and got the trophy in an awkward on-ice ceremony in New Jersey in front of the celebrating Devils fans.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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