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15. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning: Tyler Johnson has proved to be an explosive playoff performer again this spring with a pair of goals and seven points in five games to help his Tampa Bay Lightning eliminate the Detroit Red Wings for a second straight postseason. He had four points in Game 2 alone and was part of one of the most dangerous lines of the first round alongside Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn.
14. Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars: With Tyler Seguin out, Jason Spezza has jumped into an even more important scoring role for the Dallas Stars, and he didn’t disappoint with four goals and nine points in six games. He is tied for second in points with John Tavares behind teammate Jamie Benn (10 points). Spezza had four points in the series-clinching game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
13. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: Returning from injury to play the final four games of the short series against the New York Rangers, Evgeni Malkin provided the Pens with a full complement of stars, making matchups much more difficult. He also makes the power play one of the most frightening in the playoffs. He leads all players, with 1.75 points per game.
12. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning: Ben Bishop went 4-1 with a .950 save percentage and 1.61 GAA for the Lightning in the first round against the Detroit Red Wings. Remember, we’re ignoring the fact the second round started on Wednesday. Before then, the big-bodied backstop had kept backup Andrei Vasilevskiy at bay because of his consistent play. He was at his best in the elimination game, stopping all 34 pucks he faced.
11. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin will become the focus of Round 2 because of the fabricated but fantastic personal rivalry with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He didn’t have to carry the Caps through the first round but was a physical force who exhausted and intimidated Flyers defenders while also producing three goals and five points in six contests.