The Chicago Blackhawks are prepped and ready to compete in the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With three games left in the regular season, Chicago may choose to rest some star players in order for them to be in peak physical condition come playoff time. While that is acceptable, the Blackhawks have no such plan to rest as a team for the final three games.
Fighting for a Presidents' Trophy, given to the top regular-season finisher in the NHL, the Blackhawks may use these three games as a final tune-up for the postseason.
One thing is for sure—the stars of Chicago will have to shine just as brightly in the postseason as they did during the regular season. Depth may have benefited the Blackhawks, but their top players have also paid big dividends to claim No. 1 in the Western Conference.
Whether it be Patrick Kane racing down the ice or Andrew Shaw going hard into the boards, every player will have to play their best if Chicago wants to make a deep playoff run.
Following are the five most crucial players to the Blackhawks' playoff hopes.