Every April, at the conclusion of the regular season, 16 teams begin a 60-day quest to win the Stanley Cup. Each year, during this two-month span, certain players take their games to another level, hoping to bring their team and city an NHL championship. Throughout the playoffs, FOXSports.com will spotlight the top 10 postseason performances from the previous week, highlighting the special plays from these clutch performers. How did your favorite playoff player do last week? Did he step up and stand out during the pressure-packed contests? Read on to find out. -- Robert Picarello
Antti Niemi, Chicago Blackhawks
Antti Niemi's play between the pipes last week sent the Sharks home for the summer. The Blackhawks netminder won both of his starts, including a 3-2 overtime win where he stopped 44 of the 46 attempts thrown his way.
Brian Gionta, Montreal Canadiens
Brian Gionta did all he could last week to keep the Canadiens' season alive. The pesky forward fired 16 shots at the Flyers cage in the three games, picking up two goals and one assist in Montreal's final series of the 2009-10 season.
Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers
Jeff Carter, who missed 11 games because of a broken foot he suffered in the opening round, scored two goals in Philly's 4-2 series-clinching win over Montreal Monday night. One of Carter's two tallies just happened to be the red-lighter that sent the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
While the rest of the Sharks failed to show up for the Western Conference Finals against the Blackhawks, Patrick Marleau made sure he brought his "A" game. The 30-year-old pivot potted five goals and one assist in the four-game series, including back-to-back two-goal efforts in Games 2 and 3.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews was very giving in the four-game series sweep of the Sharks. In addition to his one game-winner in the series, the 22- year-old captain dished out five helpers in the Western Conference Finals, assisting his club back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992.
Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
After pacing the Flyers in the first two rounds of the postseason, Mike Richards was somewhat quiet in the Conference Finals matchup against Montreal. But the Flyers captain led by example in the series-decider, posting three points in the 4-2 win that sent the Canadiens back across the border for the summer.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux continued to pile up the postseason points, registering three points in Philly's three games against the Habs in Week 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Flyers' second-leading goal scorer picked up three goals – including his first postseason game-winner – and three assists in the five-game series against Montreal.
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Talk about gutsy performances. With 12:30 remaining in the second period of Sunday's series-clinching win over the Sharks, Chicago's Duncan Keith took a shot to the mouth off the stick of Patrick Marleau, which caused the Blackhawks' best defender to lose seven teeth. After some quick fixes by the behind-the-scenes dentists, the Norris Trophy finalist was back on the on the ice, helping his team advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 18 years.
Michael Leighton, Philadelphia Flyers
Once again, Michael Leighton came up big for the Flyers. The 29-year-old goaltender backstopped the Flyers into the Stanley Cup Finals by winning two of his three starts last week, including his third shutout of the series against the Habs. Leighton enters the Cup Finals having only lost once in eight postseason games.
Dustin Byfuglien, Chicago Blackhawks
Dustin Byfuglien had the magic touch in against San Jose. The 25-year-old winger netted four goals in the four-game sweep of the Sharks, including three game-winners. Byfuglien heads into the Stanley Cup Finals on a hot streak, accumulating 10 points in his last eight playoff matches.