It's the most wonderful time of the NHL year: the playoffs. Before you start watching, check out the 10 best players you need to keep an eye on. -- Jenny Reisinger Cohen
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
The Panthers made some big changes in the offseason, including adding Campbell, who won a Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks. The team hasn't made the playoffs since 2000, but free-agency signings such as Campbell as well as some big trades have put the Panthers back on the postseason schedule.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
The Senators are returning to the playoffs this year with help from young defenseman Karlsson. Not only is he having a breakout season, but he's leading NHL defensemen in points by a wide margin. He can be a great postseason asset to Ottawa if he can keep this kind of play up — and there's no reason to think he can't do just that.
Alexander Radulov, Nashville Predators
After jilting the Predators for Russia's KHL in 2008, Radulov has come back to Nashville and already started to make an impact. But will his four years away from the NHL affect his postseason play? That remains to be seen, which is why he'll have to really prove himself in the playoffs.
St. Louis Blues' goalies
One of the big surprises this season has been the dominance of the Blues in recent months. But one of the big reasons for their lock on the Central Division title has been the stellar work of their goalies, Brian Elliott (pictured) and Jaroslav Halak. With those two between the pipes, the Blues could provide more surprises in the postseason.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Lidstrom has struggled in the past few months with an ankle injury that could affect his play in the postseason. He'll be turning 42 years old at the end of the month, leaving some fans to worry that this may be his last season in the league. Will he be able to get back to his peak form — and more importantly, will he be back after this season?
Chicago Blackhawks' rookies
The Blackhawks are known for their core players who picked up a Stanley Cup in 2010 but lately, it's been the rookies who have stepped up and made an impact. Keep an eye on Andrew Shaw (pictured) and Marcus Kruger, who have especially become big offensive forces in the wake of injuries to star players, such as captain Jonathan Toews.
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
The defending Stanley Cup champions have been very hit-and-miss this season, which is why their captain will need to be a steady leader during their playoff run if the team hopes to repeat. Chara has had another stellar season, but he'll need to motivate the team to be more consistent if they want to win again.
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers
Hartnell could easily be considered one of the most improved players in the NHL this season. He's set career highs this year in goals, assists and points, proving to be vital in the Flyers' winning ways. If he can continue this trend into the postseason, he will be a formidable force for Philly.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
In 2010, the Rangers barely missed the playoffs. This year, they easily clinched the Eastern Conference title. One of the big reasons for the turnaround is the stellar work of Lundqvist between the pipes. Fans should expect more good work from him as he helps lead his team through a playoff run.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
He hasn't played too many games this season due to lingering symptoms from a concussion, but Crosby has come back just in time to help his team in its playoff push. Plus, he's been playing well again with possible MVP candidate Evgeni Malkin, who is having a stellar season.