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Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks: The Sharks appear to be peaking at just the right time, having lost just twice in regulation in their past 18 contests. Up front, Patrick Marleau is scoring in bunches, but what about Pavelski, who has collected an incredible 17 points in his past six games? If depth down the middle is an indicator of Cup worthiness, the Sharks have it. And if Pavelski keeps up this pace, the Sharks may finally be ready to extend that spring run into June, a run Sharks fans have been waiting for since the lockout.
Mike Knuble, Washington Capitals: Speaking of teams ramping it up for the playoffs, how about the Washington Capitals? They have won 11 of 12 games, are running away with the Southeast Division and now have an outside shot at the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight season. With captain Alex Ovechkin resting an injury for a week or so, heart-and-soul veteran Knuble has stepped up with five goals and three assists in his past five games. Knuble has now hit the 20-goal plateau for the eighth straight season, only the fifth active player to do so.
Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadiens: We know Gomez is more of a playmaking center than a sniper, but still, it might be nice if he scored once in awhile. Gomez has gone 22 straight games without a goal; that's just not cutting it, especially given that the offensively challenged Habs have now been shut out twice in a row, including Thursday's embarrassing 7-0 loss in Boston. Gomez has chipped in just eight assists over that 22-game span and has not had a multipoint game since Jan. 21. It'll be one and done for the Canadiens unless they can get some depth scoring, and that means Gomez will have to step it up.
Martin Havlat, Minnesota Wild: Another disappointing finish to the season for the Minnesota Wild, who will miss the playoffs for the third season in a row. That's what happens when you lose seven straight in late March and manage to score just nine times over that period. There is a lot of blame to go around in the State of Hockey, but Havlat's drop-off in production was certainly a big factor. Havlat, the team's leading scorer, has gone seven straight without a goal and has just one in his past 11 games.