No. 1 star: Jussi Jokinen(notes), Carolina Hurricans
The postseason's most dangerous man in a tie game was at it again Friday, taking a pass from Rod Brind'Amour(notes) that trickled through the crease and pounding it home to break a 1-1 deadlock in an eventual 4-1 Carolina win in Game 4. Talk about a guy with a flair for the dramatic, Jokinen – they've taken to calling the native of Finland "The Finnisher" – now has six goals in the playoffs, five coming in the third period or overtime and three holding up as winners. Who says he needs the shootout to send a crowd home happy? Things unraveled late for the Bruins, with Jokinen picking up a pair of assists on the goals that iced the game.
No. 2 star: Rob Scuderi(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
Let's start with the two assists. As a defenseman who came in with four points in 34 career playoff games, Scuderi doesn't get many curtain calls for plays that wind up with a puck in the back of the net. So we'll let him think this is a nod to his puck handling, even if we're truly recognizing the 23-plus minutes he spent shadowing Alexander Ovechkin(notes) in Pittsburgh's 5-3, series-evening win. Scuderi helped limit Ovechkin to two shots, recorded three blocked shots and was a game-high plus-3. The Pens may not have taken a two-goal lead to the locker room if Scuderi hadn't made a stick save on a close-in Ovechkin chance late in the first period (Marc-Andre Fleury's(notes) robbery of Sergei Fedorov(notes) was instrumental, too).
No. 3 star: Eric Staal(notes), Carolina Hurricanes
Staal hopped off the bench during a delayed penalty and beat Tim Thomas(notes) for his ninth goal of the playoffs, becoming Carolina's all-time leading playoff scorer with 40 points in the process. The record setter was just an insurance marker, but the result was still very much in question when he opened scoring with a power-play tally in the first period.
Major Penalty: It was already looking like an off night for Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov(notes), and then his catching glove completely malfunctioned on a Ruslan Fedotenko(notes) wrist shot from just inside the blue line. Just like that, an unscreened shot from 40-plus feet turned into a 3-1 first-period deficit. Factor in the five goals allowed by Jonas Hiller(notes) on Thursday and it's been a tough 24 hours for playoff Cinderellas.
The top sports headlines of the day
Minor Penalty: Speaking of bad streaks getting worse, Game 4 was supposed to be a bounce-back game for Zdeno Chara(notes), who accepted his share of the blame for Boston's series deficit. He wasn't burned for the game-winning goal this time, the trouble being that when Jokinen broke the 1-1 tie, Chara was preoccupied in the Boston penalty box. Chara is without a point and is minus-4 in the series.
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Penguins; 2. Eric Staal, Hurricanes; 3. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; 4. Johan Franzen(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 5. Roberto Luongo(notes), Vancouver Canucks; 6. Cam Ward(notes), Hurricanes; 7. Jussi Jokinen, Hurricanes; 8. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Anaheim Ducks; 9. Simeon Varlamov, Capitals; 10. Martin Havlat(notes), Chicago Blackhawks.