Nothing in the Stanley Cup playoffs ever goes as expected.
Just a week into their 2013 edition, the defending NHL champions are tied in a series with a team they swept last year. The consensus Cup favorite is struggling to shake off a No. 8 seed that is in the postseason for the first time since 2007. The playoff scoring lead is held not by Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane or Sidney Crosby; it's held by Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Evgeni Malkin.
For five struggling stars in particular, however, Lord Stanley's unpredictable nature isn't going over so well.
Under the shining, pressure-laden spotlights of markets like New York, Toronto and Montreal, they're finding it difficult to duplicate their regular-season production and live up to expectations—and those shortcomings are hurting their teams, too.
We examine five NHL stars underperforming in the playoffs—and how they can turn their play around as the first round grinds on—on the coming slides.