- Scott Burnside, NHL
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NEW JERSEY DEVILS
G Martin Brodeur: The game's greatest netminder is 40, and while he might show the odd wobble -- check out his near disastrous puck-clearing effort in Game 5 against Philadelphia -- also check out his numbers through the first two rounds: 2.05 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. Ageless? Sounds about right.
D Marek Zidlicky: This key trade-deadline acquisition has spruced up the power play and chipped in six points in 12 games while leading all Devils in average ice time at 24:39 per game. He was injured in Game 5 when taken hard into the boards by Wayne Simmonds and his availability for the conference finals remains uncertain.
D Bryce Salvador: Another of the defense-by-committee crew who has served the Devils well; this veteran defenseman has been a veritable fountain of offense, with two goals and six points.
D Adam Larsson: The Devils' top draft pick in June 2011 was a healthy scratch until early in the second round but scored in his first postseason contest.
LW Ilya Kovalchuk: The Russian sniper is enjoying his longest playoff run. He missed one game against Philadelphia with a nagging back injury but was dominant when in the lineup, with two goals and five assists in the series. He leads all Devils with 12 points in 11 games.
LW Zach Parise: Head coach Pete DeBoer split the two dynamic wingers up for most of the Philadelphia series and Parise has been the team's best all-around forward. Only Kovalchuk averages more than Parise's 21:45 in ice time. He leads the Devils in shots with 46.
C Travis Zajac: Zajac missed all but 15 regular-season games due to injury but has proved how important he is as the team's top center with five goals and five assists in the postseason.
C Adam Henrique: Henrique filled in during the regular season as the team's top center and has also played the wing. This Calder Trophy nominee enjoyed a strong series against Philadelphia, creating a ton of offense with his hard work.
C Patrik Elias: The wily veteran is one of the few throwbacks to the Devils' Cup years but isn't showing his age. His two power-play goals rank second on the team behind Kovalchuk, who has three.
RW David Clarkson: Clarkson was a 30-goal man during the season and has continued his strong play into the postseason with two goals and six assists. He scored the winner in Game 5 versus Philadelphia when an errant clearing pass by Ilya Bryzgalov bounced off Clarkson's stick and into the net.
RW Dainius Zubrus: Zubrus was one of the players DeBoer identified as being able to elevate his game in the postseason, and he's been right. Zubrus, who has seven points, scored the winner in Game 4 and then added an empty-netter after being rammed on a dangerous hit by Claude Giroux that earned Giroux a one-game suspension.
LW Alexei Ponikarovsky: Another pre-trade-deadline pickup, Ponikarovsky has only one goal this spring, but it was a big one, an overtime winner in Game 3 that sent the Devils on their way against Philadelphia.
RW Petr Sykora: Another throwback to a bygone Devils era, Sykora has chipped in four points, including one power-play goal as he's gone back to his roots after bouncing around the NHL and Europe the past couple of seasons.
NEW YORK RANGERS
G Henrik Lundqvist: This is where it begins and ends for the Rangers. The Vezina Trophy nominee has been outstanding in the playoffs, turning in a .937 save percentage and 1.68 GAA. He is the engine that drives the Rangers machine and came up huge in both Game 7 wins.
D Dan Girardi: The All-Star has continued his breakthrough season with a strong postseason. He leads all players in ice time, averaging 27:39 a night. He's actually chipped in offense with a goal and six assists and leads all players in blocked shots.
D Marc Staal: Another of the Rangers' big three defenders who has played well this spring, Staal was targeted for big hits by the Capitals in the last round. He averages 25:27 a night in ice time and scored the OT winner in Game 5.
D Ryan McDonagh: It's still hard to believe the Montreal Canadiens traded this terrific young defenseman. He has just one assist but his value is in keeping opposing players away from the Rangers' net. He is averaging 27:27 a night in ice time and with Girardi forms one of the top shutdown tandems in the game.
D Michael Del Zotto: He had a huge night in the deciding game against Washington, scoring the winning goal and adding an assist. He has seven points in his last nine playoff games. He leads all defensemen in playoff hits.
D Anton Stralman: He has two power-play goals this spring, the most of any defenseman, and leads all NHL defenders with three postseason goals.
C Brad Richards: Richards has done exactly what the Rangers hoped he would do when they signed him to a nine-year, $60 million deal last summer. He leads the Rangers in both goals (six) and points (11), but more importantly has produced at key times for the Rangers, including scoring the first goal of Game 7 against Washington, setting up Marian Gaborik's triple-overtime winner in Game 3 against the Capitals and scoring a pivotal power-play goal against Ottawa in Game 6.
RW Marian Gaborik: Playing mostly with Richards, Gaborik has shown flashes, scoring four times this spring. He still plays too much on the perimeter and has failed to register a power-play goal this spring. He did assist on the game-winning goal in Game 7 against Washington.
LW Carl Hagelin: Providing energy on the Rangers' top line, the promising rookie had a big night in Game 7 against Washington with two assists. He had just one assist before that and was suspended for three games in the first round of the playoffs for a hit on Daniel Alfredsson.
C Ryan Callahan: The Rangers captain was terrific against Ottawa but saw his production drop significantly against Washington, when he had just a goal and an assist.
LW Chris Kreider: This top collegiate player entered the playoffs with a bang against Ottawa but saw his ice time cut due to defensive deficiencies through the Washington series. Both of his goals this spring were game winners.
C Derek Stepan: He has just one goal this spring but chipped in seven assists, third among all NHLers. His eight points have all come in his last nine games.
C Brian Boyle: He missed three games after sustaining an injury against Ottawa and failed to score in any of the six games in which he played after returning to the lineup.
F Artem Anisimov: The man made famous on HBO's "24/7" series for firing a mock gun after scoring against Tampa has shown flashes this spring, scoring a goal and adding an assist against the Caps in Game 4.
C Ruslan Fedotenko: Former Cup winner in both Tampa and Pittsburgh has just two assists and zero goals this spring.