NHL Playoffs 2011: Top Overtime Assassins on Each Team

Adam OdekirkContributor IIApril 13, 2011

NHL Playoffs 2011: Top Overtime Assassins on Each Team

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    As if the NHL playoffs didn't have enough pressure in regulation time, players often times find themselves in a sudden-death situation come overtime.

    Therefore it is incredibly important to have a cold-blooded assassin ready to dispatch of the opposing team at a moment's notice. This is a list of each team's top hitman.

Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin

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    He's the captain now and the eyes of Vancouver will be on him should the Canucks find themselves in overtime with their playoff lives on the line.

    Granted the most important player in overtime for Vancouver would be the man who formerly wore the "C" standing in net, but since he can't stop the puck on one end and put it in on the other, Henrik Sedin is the man to watch.

San Jose Sharks: Niclas Wallin

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    Surprised? You shouldn't be.

    For those who know their NHL history, Mr. Wallin has had a flair for overtime heroics in playoffs past.

    For a team whose big guns are notoriously quiet at crunch time, the opposing goalie needs to keep an eye on this defender at all times.

Detroit Red Wings: Mike Modano

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    Call me crazy because there are a lot of guys on this roster that I really don't want to see carrying the puck into the zone in overtime, but there is something about the old veteran looking for one last hurrah that would scare me more then all the others.

    Modano has a resume as impressive as any other player on the Red Wings when it comes to postseason heroics, but he will be hungry to make his mark in a Red Wings uniform if the opportunity arises.

Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne

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    If you are accusing me of overthinking the last player, the same can't be said here.

    Corey Perry could have scored 90 goals this season and it wouldn't matter because Selanne has been a deadly sniper since before most of these players could drive.

    He can make a team pay from anywhere in the zone, and if any defenseman is stupid enough to think about his age as a factor, Teemu will have already lit the lamp on him.

Nashville Predators: Shea Weber

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    It's a tough call when you look at this Predators roster, which seems to be devoid of any significant playoff overtime experience.

    Still, this is the place where legends are born, and goalies around the league will tell you that it is never easy watching Shea Weber draw the stick back.

    I mean a lot can happen between the blue line and the goal line, especially in overtime.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan

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    Can the puck be put in the back of the net by sheer force of will? If it can then a guy like Shane Doan is going to make it happen.

    He has been a picture of solidarity for this Coyotes team despite countless distractions on and off the ice. When this relatively young roster finds themselves in overtime, he will be the type of player who leads the way.

    I mean you don't last this long in the league without a few tricks up your sleeve, right?

Los Angeles Kings: Ryan Smyth

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    When your nickname is "Captain Canada" and your personal office seems to be right in front of the opposition's net, it is no surprise that you have the tools required to send a team to their playoff grave in overtime if called upon to do so.

    The gritty veteran has moves to do it in a flashy way or the guts to just stand there and knock it home despite the punishment he may face.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane

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    When you already have the overtime game-winner that brought the Cup back to an Original Six franchise after 40 years of waiting, there isn't much that can faze you.

    The Blackhawks can feel much more secure come overtime against any team because the odds are that there is not another player on the opposing bench that can say the same.

    The kid has more moves then a U-Haul and won't hesitate to break them out if he needs to.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin

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    Were you expecting anyone else? Ovechkin has a license to kill from the KGB and he has been well trained to deliver the kill shot from anywhere on the ice.

    The best advice is to try and score quickly against the Capitals in overtime because if you give him long enough, Ovechkin will make you pay.

Philadelphia Flyers: Daniel Briere

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    He's experienced, he's talented and frankly he is just hard to keep tabs on at all times.

    Briere has got the hands to make his own shot or convert on a rebound that comes anywhere near his stick, and his size makes it all the harder to find him.

    My advice is to take note anytime he climbs over the boards in overtime.

Boston Bruins: Mark Recchi

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    Ever hear the saying "age before beauty?" 

    Well, there might be some prettier picks on this roster but none have been where Mark Recchi has been.

    He has a nose for the puck and I can guarantee that he will always be in the right place at the right time. That's the kind of guy that scares you in OT.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Alexei Kovalev

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    The trade to acquire Kovalev might have been more well-received if it would have happened a few years ago, but when your roster is missing names like Malkin and Crosby then something had to be done.

    Honestly, there might be some hockey experts out there that would tell you even with those names in the lineup, Kovalev is still the kind of sniper that scares you more then any of them.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Martin St. Louis

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    Alright, he might not get the chance to skate in backwards and win the game on a penalty shot but the fact that he could—and would—makes him a scary guy.

    Check that statistics and you will see that St. Louis, and not Lecavalier, has been there the most when his team needed him.

    It very well might be time for Stamkos to take the spotlight but should he still need time to find his playoff touch, then St. Louis is the man to end the playoff hopes of the Lightning's opponents.

Montreal Canadiens: Brian Gionta

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    So maybe he isn't Maurice Richard, but he is still the captain of the most storied franchise in hockey history and that title can make a man do magical things.

    Gionta has been the hero before, and there is a good chance that he might find himself in that position again many times should the Canadiens make some noise in this year's playoffs.

Buffalo Sabres: Thomas Vanek

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    When your roster seems to be missing a player with a penchant for overtime heroics, then your best bet is the guy who lit the lamp the most in the regular season.

    For the Buffalo Sabres, that man was Thomas Vanek. With the roll that this team was on to end the season, there is reason to believe that he will be the man in overtime.

New York Rangers: Chris Drury

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    It's strange, but the last team into the playoffs also has the absolute last player that any team wants to see with the puck on his stick in overtime.

    Chris Drury has created a playoff reputation as an ice man ready to strike once the clock runs out on regulation. He has 11 game-winning goals in the playoffs, three of which were in OT.