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Sidney Crosby leads the charge again with dominant effort against the Blue Jackets

Updated: April 21, 2017, 8:42 AM ET
By ESPN.com

Who was the MVP for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round win over the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Penguins celebrateCharles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsThe Penguins had many MVP candidates in their five-game series win over the Blue Jackets.

Craig Custance: Sidney Crosby was great and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury saved the day, but put me down for Evgeni Malkin as MVP. He removed any concerns about his nagging upper-body injury fairly quickly and posted 11 points in five games. As good as the HBK (Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel) line was last spring, it's going to be really hard to slow down a line featuring Malkin and Phil Kessel, especially when you have to focus on Crosby on another line.

Rob Vollman: Pittsburgh's first-round MVP was its captain, Crosby. Even when he's not leading the team in scoring, he's tying up top opponents so that someone like Malkin can.

Joe McDonald: The easy choice would be Crosby, with Fleury a close second. The Penguins would not have advanced to the second round without the performances of either, but I have to give forward Bryan Rust a ton of credit for his offensive prowess. He had four goals, including two in Game 5, and finished the series with a plus-5. He now has seven goals in nine career elimination games.

Scott Burnside: I'll go off the grid and go with the unheralded 22-year-old Jake Guentzel, who finished the first round with five goals and an assist. Guentzel, playing mostly with Crosby, is the first player to score five goals in his first four playoff games since Maurice "Rocket" Richard did it in 1944. Not bad company. And two of those goals were winners.

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