NHL Playoffs 2013: Showcasing Must-Watch Players This Postseason

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals stakes on the ice against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Verizon Center on April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There are a handful of NHL superstars competing for the Stanley Cup championship this postseason, but only a select few who can be considered must-watch talents this time of year.

Whether they can score at any moment, fool a defender with some magnificent stick work or change the outcome of a game all by themselves, these elite players add a ton to the fan experience. 

Below we'll showcase a trio of must-watch players in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.


Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings, C

One of the best centers in all of hockey, Pavel Datsyuk is a can't-miss star with the puck at his stick.

The Red Wings veteran is known for his incredible skill, but also has some impressive numbers to back up his talent. He scored 15 goals and recorded 34 assists this past regular season for Detroit, playing a key role down the stretch as the Wings clinched the No. 7 seed out West. 

Datsyuk failed to score or assist in the Red Wings' opening playoff loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, but concluded the regular season on a three-game point streak, racking up two goals and six assists as the Wings won all three of those games.

The lesson? Datsyuk will bounce back.

That said, if the matchup of Red Wings vs. Ducks isn't enough to keep you interested, then Datsyuk's creativity and remarkable talent should be good enough reason to watch.


Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, RW

The best player on the best team in hockey is Patrick Kane, a talented 24-year-old American right winger who never fails to entertain, regardless of whether he's scoring goals or assisting his Blackhawks teammates.

Kane recorded 55 points during the regular season this year, ranking fifth in the league, putting in 23 goals and assisting on 32 others.

In Chicago's opening playoff win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Kane recorded an assist on the game-tying goal in the second period. Look for him to continue to score points as the series wears on, especially considering that the Wild ranked just 15th in goals allowed during the regular season.

A Stanley Cup champion in 2010, Kane has been to the top of the mountain before, and you can bet that no moment will be too big for him in these playoffs.


Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, LW

There isn't a hotter goal scorer in the playoffs than Washington's Alex Ovechkin, making him the top can't-miss star this postseason.

After scoring just eight goals through the first two months of the season, Ovie has turned it on, scoring 24 goals over the last two months of the year, including 14 over the Caps' final 13 regular-season games.

Ovechkin's late-season surge helped him beat out Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the regular-season goal lead as well. He also recorded 24 assists, helping contribute to the league's top-ranked power play.

Washington will take on a New York Rangers team in the first round that is just average (15th during the regular season) at defending the power play, offering hockey fans with a great look at the Russian goal magnet.


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