Pavel Datsyuk --
It's time for the quiet Russian, the two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, to maintain that regular-season success in this, his sixth NHL postseason. Datsyuk, who led the team in takeaways this season, has scored just 11 goals in 60 playoff games in Detroit, but did connect for eight in 18 games last spring.
Nicklas Lidstrom --
The captain, who happens to be the only European-born player in the history of the NHL to garner the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP, has registered 136 points in 192 playoff games with the Red Wings. Lidstrom, 37, led the League's defensemen in points and plus/minus rating. He's averaged more than 29 shifts and 26 minutes each game. He'll be the rock along the blueline in Detroit's quest for another Stanley Cup title.
Henrik Zetterberg --
The Swedish standout more than doubled his previous high for points in the playoffs last season when he collected 14 points, including six goals. He has scored 15 goals in 40 playoff games. Now in his fifth NHL season, Zetterberg finished second on the team in face-off winning percentage and will be counted on for even more offensive production this spring as the likely second-line center. He led the Red Wings in shots and power-play goals and was second behind Datsyuk in points.
Jason Arnott --
The Predators captain certainly has lived up to expectations, particularly after the departure of forwards Peter Forsberg
and Paul Kariya
at the end of last season. A 14-year vet, Arnott has collected 63 points in 96 playoff games. He offers a wealth of Stanley Cup experience – scoring the Cup-clinching goal at 8:20 of the second overtime for the Devils in Game 6 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final against Dallas – and will be counted on for leadership, on and off the ice.
J.P. Dumont --
The nine-season veteran went stride-for-stride with Arnott for the team scoring lead while registering career highs in goals, points and game-winners. In 36 career playoff games, Dumont has recorded 15 goals and 27 points, including 20 points and in his last 23 playoff appearances. The Quebec native will be relied upon to come up big when coverage swings to Arnott.
Dan Hamhuis --
The 6-foot-1 defenseman led the team in shifts per game -- as he did last season -- and he led the team at 22:43 average ice time per game this season. He is unquestionably one of the hardest-working performers along the blueline for the Predators. The 2001 first round draft choice usually is on the top defensive pairing with Greg de Vries
. Hamhuis, known as “The Hammer,” needs to continue his infectious approach to the game in the postseason. He ranked among Nashville's top five in blocked shots, takeaways and hits.