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Game Breakers

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Joe Thornton -- In his three seasons with the Sharks, the former No. 1 pick (1997) has collected three goals and 17 assists in 22 playoff games. There's no denying the fact the Sharks playoff success will hinge on Thornton's prowess in the postseason. He posted his eighth straight season with 20 or more goals and finished among the League leaders in points and assists this season.

Evgeni Nabokov -- The native of Kazakhstan has been a wall of strength for the Sharks this winter, establishing a career-high in victories while playing the most minutes of any goalie in the League. In 46 career playoff games, the two-time NHL All Star is 24-20 with a 2.17 goals-against average.

Brian Campbell -- Since joining the Sharks on Feb. 26, Campbell has been a major spark to the team's transition game, not to mention the fact he has been a thorn in the side of every opposing forward. He can thread the needle when the team is in need of some offense and can play the body – see Philadelphia's R.J. Umberger in the 2005-06 playoffs. Campbell had 13 points in 34 playoff games in Buffalo.

Jarome Iginla -- One of the best in the business, the Flames' captain reached the 50-goal plateau for the second time in his brilliant career. Simply put, there is nothing Iginla can't do. The bigger the game, the higher Iginla rises to the occasion. No question, Sharks coach Ron Wilson will spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to contain this future Hall of Famer.

Dion Phaneuf -- Turning 23 in the first round of the playoffs, Phaneuf has already established himself as one of the top all-around defensemen in the game this season and made his second All-Star appearance. While he's extremely physical, it's certainly not the only aspect to his game. The Edmonton native has scored at least 17 goals in each of his first three professional seasons.

Miikka Kiprusoff -- He hasn't had a sterling postseason since his dominant performance in 2004, but that performance is the reason the netminder makes this list. That postseason, Kiprusoff recorded five shutouts and had a 1.85 goals-against average during 26 postseason contests, as the Flames came within one win of a Stanley Cup championship. Kiprusoff has struggled at times this season, but that's understandable when you consider he's appeared in more than 70 games.

Author: Staff

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