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15 Most Clutch Players in the NHL Today

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2011

15 Most Clutch Players in the NHL Today

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    Glory is achieved with performing in the spotlight. Clutch players always get the attention, and rightfully so. What's to remember about a player who disappears when the lights shined the brightest?

    Today's game has no shortage of big-time players. When the pressure is cranked up, certain players have been known to take things to the next level.

    Here are the 15 most clutch players in the game today.

Claude Giroux

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    Claude Giroux had his coming out party in the 2010 NHL Playoffs, and continued his postseason success in 2011.

    Giroux is always a key contributor for the Flyers but definitely seems to get amped up in the postseason, when he can really get his beard going.

Dennis Seidenberg

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    Dennis Seidenberg was a reliable rearguard throughout last season, but his play in the postseason was on a different level than we are used to seeing from the Bruins defenseman.

    He feeds off of energy, which is tough to find on a nightly basis.

Martin St. Louis

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    One of the most underrated plays in the NHL, Martin St. Louis performs at a consistently elite level in both the regular season and the postseason.

    He just loves to prove people wrong.

Evgeni Malkin

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    A winner of both the Art Ross and Conn Smythe Trophies, Evgeni Malkin manages to come through for the Penguins with or without Sidney Crosby by his side.

    He is a true leader for this team.

Zach Parise

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    Zach Parise hasn't gotten a ton of chances to prove it, but he is definitely a prime-time performer.

    His play in the Olympics combined with his lights out shootout make him a prime candidate for this list.

Cam Ward

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    Consistency is the first word that comes to mind when Cam Ward's name is mentioned.

    He can be counted on to start tons of games, and keep the Hurricanes in just about every single one of them.

Ryan Miller

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    Ryan Miller hasn't been surrounded by a ton of talent in recent seasons, but that hasn't stopped him from standing on his head on numerous occasions in postseason play.

Henrik Lundqvist

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    A 2006 Gold Medal winner for Team Sweden, Henrik Lundqvist will have a real shot at the Stanley Cup with the team around him in the Empire State.

    When the Rangers slump, King Henrik can be counted on to bail them out. That's the sign of a great goaltender.

Marc-Andre Fleury

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    Marc-Andre Fluery has been heavily criticized early on in his NHL career, but Pittsburgh's goalie is a key piece to their championship puzzle.

    When the team won the Stanley Cup, Fleury was playing the best hockey of his career. The cup was no coincidence.

Jarome Iginla

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    Jarome Iginla is a joy to watch.

    He is a tremendous leader—a trait which helps him amplify his production in the playoffs.

    Iginla is nearly a point-per-game player in 54 career postseason games.

Ryan Kesler

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    Prior to getting injured, Ryan Kesler was on an absolute tear in the 2011 NHL Playoffs.

    He continued to gut through it, making him all the more a candidate for this list. Kesler plays with a ton of heart, and it really shines through in the playoffs.

Johan Franzen

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    Johan Franzen is a postseason legend of sorts in Detroit.

    Hockey Town was blessed with 18 and 23 point postseasons from Franzen on route to consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup.

    The guy gets it done in the playoffs.

Chris Pronger

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    Chris Pronger is an easy choice for this list.

    At the tail-end of of his career, injuries have caught up to him, Pronger truly saves his best play for the playoffs.

    The increase in effort and intensity from the Flyers captain is contagious to the rest of his team.

Sidney Crosby

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    Go ahead, hate him. Hate me for putting him high on this list.

    Whatever you say or do won't change the fact that Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL, and that includes crunch time.

    Despite a so-so Olympics, Crosby fittingly came through when it mattered to capture the gold for Team Canada in 2010.

    That's clutch.

Tim Thomas

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    Tim Thomas is on another level.

    His mental focus is the best I've ever seen in any sport, and he allows that to carry him through the toughest of situations.

    The 2011 NHL Playoffs left no argument as to who the most clutch player in the NHL is. It's Tim Thomas. Case closed.

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