NHL Playoffs 2013: Unsung Heroes Who Will Carry Their Teams

Matt MetzlerContributor IIIMay 6, 2013

Pascal Dupuis is adding yet another scoring threat to an already dangerous Penguins attack.
Pascal Dupuis is adding yet another scoring threat to an already dangerous Penguins attack.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

So far, the NHL playoffs have been nothing short of spectacular, and they will only continue to get better.

As opening-round series draw to a close, there are a few teams that have received production from unlikely players. These players aren't the biggest names on the roster, but they get the job done and then some.

Let's take a look at a few players who have helped their club win and could propel them to the conference semifinals.


Pascal Dupuis, Left Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins

Playing on a team with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will see any hockey player overshadowed by star power.

Pascal Dupuis, however, has made the most of his time with the Penguins, and he is proving his worth in their opening-round series against the Islanders, which Pittsburgh leads 2-1.

Dupuis currently leads the team in scoring with three goals and has recorded at least a point in all three games.

In his sixth playoff campaign with the Penguins, Dupuis has already eclipsed the highest number of goals he has ever scored in one postseason.

It appears Dupuis is ready to make the transition from being overshadowed to sharing the goal scoring spotlight.


Braden Holtby, Goaltender, Washington Capitals

Going into the series, Henrik Lundqvist was the only goaltender being talked about, however, Capitals netminder Braden Holtby has been just as good, if not better. 

Holtby has only allowed one goal in the series thus far, recording a shutout in a 1-0 Game 2 win.

While much of the focus has been and will be on players like Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green, it is the Capitals' goaltender who has stood on his head and allowed the team to win the first two games in its series.

Holtby's performance in the playoffs gives the Capitals a much-needed safety blanket in case their offensive firepower runs stagnant, as it did in Game 2.


Joe Pavelski, Center, San Jose Sharks

With the Sharks clicking on all cylinders and leading the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 in their series, center Joe Pavelski can do no wrong. 

He has six points (two goals, four assists) through just three games.

On a team whose scoring is led by Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, Pavelski isn't asked to produce at an overwhelming rate.

But it certainly doesn't hurt.

Pavelski, overshadowed by the bigger name of Joe Thornton, has distributed the puck extremely efficiently while having the hockey intelligence to know when to shoot the puck himself.

In an already dynamic Sharks offense, Pavelski is making a name for himself as a prolific playmaker.