With the 2012 playoffs looming, it is a good time to have a look at which NHL players are renowned for bringing their game to the next level.
Players like Claude Lemieux, Esa Tikkanen and Ken Linseman have offered great playoff performances over the years despite their less-than-stellar play during the regular season, while other players have failed to perform in clutch situations and never managed to win a Stanley Cup.
Below you will find a breakdown of the best playoff performers for each Eastern Conference team, as well as players that collapse under the scrutiny and the pressure of the NHL playoffs:
1. New York Rangers:
Brad Richards: 21 goals and 41 goals for 62 points in only 63 games, recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004
Ryan Callahan: 6 goals and 3 assists for only 9 points in 33 games
8. Ottawa Senators:
Daniel Alfredsson: 45 goals and 43 goals for 88 points in 107 games
Sergei Gonchar: 21 goals and 59 assists for 80 points in 118 games, Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh in 2008-09
Jason Spezza: 14 goals and 32 assists for 46 points in 46 points
Milan Michalek: 10 goals and 6 assists for only 16 points in 40 games
2. Boston Bruins:
David Krejci: 19 goals and 25 assists for 44 points in 52 games
Patrice Bergeron: 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points in 54 games
Zdeno Chara: 9 goals and 27 assists for 36 points in 100 games
Brian Rolston: 19 goals and 12 assists for only 31 points in 70 games
7. Washington Capitals:
Alexander Ovechkin: 25 goals and 25 assists for 50 points in 37 games
Joel Ward: 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points in 18 games
Troy Brouwer: 4 goals and 6 assists for only 10 points in 43 games
3. Florida Panthers:
Mikael Samuelsson: 22 goals and 31 assists for 53 points in 92 games
Sean Bergenheim: 9 goals and 2 assists for 11 points in 16 games
Marco Sturm: 9 goals and 13 assists for only 22 points in 61 games
***Note*** Stephen Weiss will play his first ever playoff game this week after playing 637 regular season games with the Panthers!
6. New Jersey Devils:
Patrik Elias: 40 goals and 77 assists for 117 points in 138 games, two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils
Alexei Ponikarovsky: 3 goals and 7 assists for only 10 points in 38 games
4. Pittsburgh Penguins:
Sidney Crosby: 30 goals and 52 assists for 82 points in only 62 games
Evgeni Malkin: 29 goals and 44 assists for 73 points in only 62 games, Conn Smythe winner with Pittsburgh in 2008-09
Jordan Staal: 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points in 67 games
Matt Cooke: 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 76 games
5. Phildelphia Flyers:
Jaromir Jagr: 77 goals and 104 assists for 181 points in only 169 games
Daniel Briere: 42 goals and 54 assists for 96 points in 97 games
Claude Giroux: 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points in 40 games
Scott Hartnell: 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 73 games
James Van Riemsdyk: 10 goals and 3 assists for 13 points in 32 games
I hope this helps you pick up your players accordingly when you prepare for your playoff hockey pools!
Tomorrow I will have a look at the Western Conference teams.
A long-time Joe Sakic fan, Fred, 35, is a freelance sports writer and translator. Fred earned a Bachelor of Translation in 2002 at Laval University in Quebec City. He also writes on the Montreal Canadiens for HabsAddict.com and he is an associate editor and a baseball columnist on Dobberbaseball.com. He is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.