Jonathan Toews had 29 points in 22 playoff games and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy last year. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
With the NHL playoffs set to kick off, what better time to catalogue the league’s scariest individual playoff performers? Here are the top 10 best playoff performers in the NHL:
Before he finally won a Cup with the Blackhawks last season, Hossa was regarded as somewhat of a playoff bust, which is odd, considering he has 91 points in 120 post-season games. If the Hawks are to beat Vancouver in the first round, he’ll need to be just as effective.
The ‘Finnish Flash’ is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career, but his 31 goals this season show he can still light the lamp with great regularity. With 72 points in 105 career playoff games, he’s also a threat to contribute offense when it matters most.
The youngest player on this list, Giroux had 21 points in 23 playoff games with the Flyers last spring. The Orange & Black will need the 23-year-old to be just as productive this time around.
The oldest player on this list, Recchi first played post-season NHL hockey in 1991, when he had 24 assists and 34 points in 24 games for Pittsburgh during their successful Stanley Cup run. The 43-year-old has 133 career playoff points in 164 games.
The greatest defenseman of his generation has been just as dependable in the post-season, with 175 points in 247 games (active leader and tied with Denis Savard for 15th all-time). Some think Lidstrom is slowing down, but even on the decline, he’s more menacing than 95 percent of NHLers.
These playoffs will feature St-Louis’ first post-season appearance since 2007, but with 48 points in 45 career Cup tournament games the 35-year-old, coming off a 99-point season, is far from being an also-ran.
In last year’s playoffs, Briere had 30 points in 23 games for the Flyers. In 86 career post-season games, he has 87 points. And at age 33, he’s still got a lot of hockey life left in him.
The Capitals superstar has the fourth-best playoff points-per-game average in NHL history (1.43, based on 40 points in 28 games). He’s also looking to make amends for last season’s flameout by the team. As long as Sidney Crosby is on the sidelines, there is no more dangerous NHLer this spring than he.
An injured Zetterberg is speculated to be out of the Red Wings lineup for the start of their first round series against Phoenix, but with 91 points in 97 career playoff games, he is a central part of their Cup hopes this and every year.
This is only his third trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the defending Conn Smythe Trophy winner has 42 points in 39 games. Toews turned his play up in the second half to lead Chicago narrowly back to the post-season, which has garnered Toews some Hart Trophy support; don’t expect that type of leadership and ability to disappear now.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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