The NHL playoffs are well underway, and several teams have already seen strong performances out of their young players. With many series still close, the players who have carried their teams through the playoffs thus far will need to continue their solid play. Who are some of the young stars turning heads in this year's postseason play?
Braden Holtby: Goalie (Washington Capitals)
The Washington Capitals currently hold a 2-1 series lead on the New York Rangers. The Capitals won the first two games of the series, and Holtby dominated. The third-year player allowed only one goal in Game 1 and helped lead Washington to a 1-0 shutout in Game 2.
Overall, Holtby has put out the best goals against average in the postseason (1.61) and has the third best save percentage (.944). Holtby's strong performances through the first three games of the playoffs could prove to be a big key to the Caps winning the series.
On offense, the Capitals have been good, but not great. Washington has not scored more than three goals in any of the games this series, making Holtby's hot start that much more crucial to the team's success. Look for Holtby to continue his dominance against the Rangers en route to Washington moving on to the second round of the playoffs.
Travis Hamonic: Defenseman (New York Islanders)
While the New York Islanders currently sit one game behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in their playoff series, the play of defender Travis Hamonic has not disappointed.
Hamonic has used a nice balance of physical play and intellect to create difficult situations for Pittsburgh's offense. Of all the defensive players in the league, no player has more hits (14) than Hamonic, and his eight blocked shots puts him right in the middle of defenders for that category.
While he has yet to post any points for the Islanders this postseason, Hamonic's contributions defensively should not be overlooked against a potent Pittsburgh offense.
Logan Couture: Center (San Jose Sharks)
Shark's center Logan Couture has been one of the better players this postseason. After averaging less than one point per game during the regular season, Couture has exploded for three goals and three assists in the team's first three playoff games.
The 24-year old center currently sits at second in points scored among players this postseason with six. Couture's hot play has put the Sharks up 3-0 in their series against the Canucks, one game away from a sweep.
It's tough to say just how long Couture can keep this up, but should he continue this streak, the Sharks should go deep into the playoffs.
Patrick Kane: Right Wing (Chicago Blackhawks)
At just 24 years old, Patrick Kane is already a seasoned veteran in the NHL. Kane helped lead the Blackhawks to a 36-7-5 record in the regular season and has propelled them to a 2-1 series lead over the Minnesota Wild.
Kane has yet to notch a goal through Chicago's first three playoff games, but he has remained a catalyst for the Blackhawks offensively. The young superstar has provided five assists for the Blackhawks during the first three games of the series, good for second-most among players this postseason.
Kane helped lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2010, making him no stranger to postseason play. Look for Kane to continue his effective play throughout the playoffs as he orchestrates the Blackhawks offense.
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