NHL Players Who Must Step Up in 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs

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NHL Players Who Must Step Up in 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Scott Levy/Getty Images

Over the course of four best-of-seven NHL playoff rounds, players are expected to elevate their performance. Every team which reached the divisional finals did so largely because most of their players stepped up their game.

Each club, however, also had at least one notable player who had a disappointing opening round. One is a promising young goaltender taking part in the NHL playoffs for the first time. The rest were offensive leaders in the regular season who struggled to score through the divisional semifinals.

All must cope with the heightened expectations and pressure which comes with playoff hockey. They must also deal with the extra attention from opponents seeking to exploit their weaknesses. Their performances could affect their respective teams' championship hopes this spring. 

Here's a look at one notable struggling player from each division finalist who must step up their play in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. 

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