NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: Predicting the 'X-Factors' for the First Round

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NHL Playoff Predictions 2011: Predicting the 'X-Factors' for the First Round
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NHL playoffs are soon to be underway, and with 16 participants each drawn taut in the catapult of parity, fans will be enjoying some awesome NHL action.

When you consider the various injuries sustained, and how tight the races were down the stretch, you see it’s as wide open as ever.

There are many “favorites" to win it all and etch their names on the band of the oldest professional sports trophy of all time. There are all the superstars and big names that are supposed to perform when the stakes are at their very highest.

But nobody ever won the Stanley Cup without an “X factor,” a guy you just never saw coming in the regular season but came through when it counted.

It's not easy predicting the X factor, but that's what makes it special in the NHL playoffs. He’s the one player with a certain undefinable quality in that specific moment who somehow gets it done.

By now, of course, we all have our own lists of contenders and pretenders, our storylines and surprise upsets.

Here’s a list of surprise players who could be the “X-Factor” in the opening round of the 2010-11 NHL Playoffs.

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