The first round of the playoffs is almost over, with only two series left to complete Wednesday night. Who have been the players with the most impact? See for yourself in this week’s THN.com Top 10:
10. John Carlson, Washington
The Caps rolled over the Rangers partially because of Carlson’s steady, physical play on the blueline. He was third on the team in blocked shots (14) and second in time on ice (25:09), both good harbingers for Washington’s next series.
9. Danny Briere, Philadelphia
Not only was Briere third on the team in hits (17), he also was scoring at a nearly goal-per-game pace (with a league-best six in the Flyers’ seven game series against Buffalo).
8. David Bolland, Chicago
The Hawks fell to Vancouver in Game 7, but they got there thanks in part to Bolland’s gritty, inspired play. His six points were as many as any Blackhawks player amassed, but he did it in just four games. His team-best plus-6 was an indication of his spotless two-way game.
7. Teemu Selanne, Anaheim
In the Ducks’ six-game loss to Nashville, Selanne looked nothing like the 40-year-old he is. He was tied with Briere for the first round goal-scoring lead and played a highly physical game.
6. Brian Gionta, Montreal
Gionta was known as a big-time playoff performer long before he signed with the Canadiens and continues to prove it this year. He scored two of the three game-winners over Boston in the first round and is second on the team in takeaways, with five.
5. Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia
The Flyers narrowly avoided being eliminated by the Sabres – and one of the reasons why was Timonen’s quietly solid play. Nobody in the league had a better plus-minus ranking than Timonen’s plus-9 and he was second on the team in average time on ice (24:38).
4. Shea Weber, Nashville
Weber was tied for the lead in Preds scoring against Anaheim with three goals, led the team in blocked shots with 11 and was second in time on ice (26:29) behind Ryan Suter’s 27:28. That’s a captain-worthy performance.
3. Carey Price, Montreal
Only Washington’s Michal Neuvirth (1.38) had a better goals-against average than Price’s 1.85 – and Neuvirth was facing the offensively-challenged New York Rangers. Price also has the second-best save percentage (.942, behind Neuvirth’s .946) and his defense corps is far more decimated by injury than that of the Caps.
2. Ryane Clowe, San Jose
Clowe was the Sharks’ top scorer against the Kings with four goals – and he got them on just 16 shots for a stellar 25 percent shooting average. With Dany Heatley not doing much on the scoresheet, Clowe has stepped up in a big way.
1. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Five of the Wings’ top six time-on-ice beasts against Phoenix were defensemen. The sixth – and fourth overall on the squad – was Datsyuk, at an average of 20:01 per game. The two-way menace also had a whopping 10 takeaways for Detroit; only Chicago’s Jonathan Toews (13) had more in the opening round.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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