NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: The X-Factor for Every First-Round Matchup

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NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: The X-Factor for Every First-Round Matchup
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The regular season is over, the talk of who has the upper hand leading into each series has almost come to an end and we're just hours away from the 2011 NHL playoffs kicking off in style. Every matchup has key members and every team has important players who must produce. But in every series, there is one player who may prove to be more of a factor than anyone else. 

In every series, there's usually an *x-factor.

Whether it's a player who will be called upon to shut down the opponents or one who needs to step up on offense if his team is to advance to the second round, every series has "that guy." Every series. 

And though it's difficult to say who exactly will be this x-factor in each matchup, it certainly doesn't hurt to take a look at a few guys who are poised to play important roles—maybe more than they're expecting. 

The series are set and it's almost that time to sit in your favorite spot on the couch for the next eight weeks or so straight. But before you do that, here's a look at the possible x-factor of each series, and what they'll have to do if their team is to move on to Round 2. 

Ding ding. 


*Apologies if you've confused this look at x-factors with Simon Cowell's new show, but if that's the case, why not stick around and read anyway? You never know, you just might learn something—like how the NHL is the best reality TV there is. 

Or how Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella is the American version of Simon Cowell. Just louder.

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