2010 NHL Playoffs: Expect the Unexpected

Matthew HoganAnalyst IMay 4, 2010

DENVER, CO - APRIL 24 : Goaltender Craig Anderson #41 of the Colorado Avalanche reacts as Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates his goal in the first period of Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

If the 2010 NHL playoffs have proven anything thus far, it’s that you never know which player is going to step up for his team.

The first round and beginning of the second round have provided fans with surprise after surprise, as a new player seems to improve his game on a nightly basis.

The Boston Bruins would have had a tougher time against the Buffalo Sabres, and might not have escaped the first round alive, had it not been for Miroslav Satan.

It took a couple of games for Satan to pick his play up, but he has been on fire as of late. He has nine points in eight playoff games, compared with 14 points in 38 games during the regular season.

Satan had two game-winning goals in the first round, the first of which came in Game Four when he beat Ryan Miller with a nifty move in double overtime. The second game-winner was the series clincher.

The 35-year-old Satan has put together a string of three consecutive multi-point games.

Mike Cammalleri’s regular season was a bit of a disappointment when compared with the 82 points he put up with the Calgary Flames one season ago. He finished the 2009-10 campaign with 50 points and missed 17 games due to injury.

However, Cammalleri has been living up to his big $30 million contract in the postseason.

The 5’9” Cammalleri has eight goals and 13 points in total in nine playoff games, and has been held off the score sheet in just one game so far.

Cammalleri’s two-goal game in Game Six of the first round evened up the series with the Washington Capitals, and provided enough momentum for the upset. His two-goal performance in Game Two in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins may end up fetching a similar result.

Last, but certainly not least, is Joe Pavelski.

Pavelski had 51 points in 67 games during the regular season with the San Jose Sharks, but his offensive production has exploded in the postseason.

The 25-year-old leads all players with nine playoff goals and three game-winning goals, and his 14 points are second to only Sidney Crosby (16). He is also averaging 21:35 of ice-time per game to this point—more than Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley.

Pavelski has had two goals and one assist in three straight games and finished with 11 shots in the Sharks 4-3 win on Sunday night.

The Sharks are 6-0 in the six games where Pavelski has scored a goal; they are 0-2 when he does not score.

With plenty of games left in the playoffs, it’s just a matter of time before the next unexpected player steps up for his team.