Andrei Kostitsyn: The People's Champ
The pre-tourney favorite with his highlight-reel goal against Kari Lehtonen of the Thrashers on Jan. 17 earning him the top seed, Kostitsyn made quick work of Cristobal Huet in the opening round by earning 84.3 percent of the votes before trouncing Tomas Plekanec (83.4) and Alex Kovalev (76.3) to reach the semifinals. A testament to his domination, Kostitsyn faced himself to earn a berth in the championship final, with the Belarusian winger earning a 62.8 share of the votes to set up a clash with Mark Streit in the final.
The Swiss-born defenseman put up a good fight, but Streit’s playoff goal against the Bruins ultimately bowed out to Kostitsyn, with the 23-year-old sniper coming away with 56.1 percent of the over 7,000 fans who voted over the course of the championship final.
Slated to become a restricted free agent as of July 1, Kostitsyn can now confidently sit across from GM Bob Gainey to negotiate his new contact with his canadiens.com Play of the Year title belt around his waist.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com