Buffalo Sabres' captain Chris Drury at practice this morning, is the HERO of the Sabres this series.
I guess I can afford this little feature on every playoff series out there now.
The Hero: Chris Drury
Drury's showing why he's wearing the "C" on his jersey.
The big-hearted captain is leading his team in every aspect of the game, he's flourished on offence, he has 4 goals in the first 4 games of this series, and has been playing some great defence.
He looks commited to winning it all this time around and I don't know if anything living and moving can stop him.
And one word can also describe him: "clutch"
The Zero: Ales Kotalik
"Ales Kotalik's offensive production, if found, please return to Buffalo Sabres."
Where the heck has Ales Kotalik been venturing off into for the past few weeks?
He came off a serious injury and has been a zero all along.
He has yet to collect a single point and his ice time seems to be waning.
The Unsung Saviour: Dainius Zubrus
The hard-hitting and hard-passing forward is settling into a consistent offensive force.
Playing alongside Chris Drury, Zubrus has 5 assists in 4 games and his linemate Drury, has 4 goals.
He's pushed Maxim Afinogenov down to the 4th line, and he has his strong play to thank for that. Zubrus has become a very good player along the boards for the Sabres and his behind-the-net plays are always fun to watch.
The Sniper: Brian Campbell
Campbell played on the blue-line with the slapping Sheldon Souray in the ASG earlier in February and is looking a lot like his all-star counterpart now.
His presence on the blue-line has not gone unmentioned, he's put 2 pucks in the back of the net and added 2 helpers to go with 13 shots on goal.
Campbell is also leading his team's defence corps with a total of 15:00 minutes of ice-time on the powerplay, a serious margin over the Russian-born Dmitri Kalinin (9:19 minutes)
The X-Factor: Daniel Briere
Briere, the co-captain and the creme-de-la-creme of his team's offensive spread, has been a consistent and productive player for Lindy Ruff throught this one.
He has 4 points and is looking like the Briere we have enjoyed all season long.
Briere and Drury have been key for Buffalo and if they hope to go far, the X-Factor title will be well merited by Briere.
The Comebacker: Tim Connolly
Connolly missed all but two games in the regular season due to one of his usual concussion sagas and has rebouned in fine fashion in the playoffs.
The former 5th overall pick is logging a good amount of ice time and he's playing with grit, but you can feel he's still a little rusty.
Just wait, the Syracuse-native will knock your socks off.
The Minute Man: Tony Lydman
The smooth skating defenceman is averagin nearly 25 minutes per game, and in Buffalo with all that great depth, you know that's good.
Lydman's been a force in his own end and there's no indication Ruff won't up his ice-time more.
Interesting: Jochen Hecht
He leads his team in shots on goal with 16 and has yet to score a goal, let alone get a point.
New York Islanders
The Hero: Rick DiPietro
After suffering from various concussion-like syndromes over the last month, Rick DiPietro's return to action for the Islanders was a huge success.
The "Rock" showed everyone his magic and made spectacular saves and won Game 2 for New York practcally all on his own and has stolen the show this series for the Isle.
He is the reason the Islanders have any hope of advancing, with respect to "Dubie", the "Rock" has reclaimed his no.1 job back.
And boy, is he better than ever.
The Zero: Alexei Yashin
Ted Nolan finally realized his captain wasn't producing and demoted him to the 4th line with Andy Hilbert and Richard Park, hardly the company he had on the 1st line.
He also saw shades of the bench in Game 4 for New York and the media our of New York is going beserk.
"Time to buy out Yashin, time to cut ties with him, time to get rid of him"
Maybe it is time to dump him, but, the only chance of doing that will be if they pay 2/3 of his current remaining contract total, which would clear up $3 million annually for the Islanders and eat up $6 million annually.
Now the question I ask: Is it worth paying $6 million and saving only 3 to dump Yashin? I mean, he didn't have that horrible of a season.
The Unsung Saviour: Arron Asham
Laugh all you like, but Asham got the ice-time he deserved from Ted Nolan on the 2nd line and I think his strong play in Games 3 and 4 will earn him this title.
Asham has a hell of a shot and despite only 1 goal this series, it feels like he should have more.
He's one of those guys that shakes things up for his team with either a hard hit or a hard shot.
Asham's also going to surpass the team's highest paid player and "Zero" in ice-time per game tomorrow night.
The Sniper: Trent Hunter
Trent Hunter's current performance is an indication of the solid season he had, Hunter's got 2 goals and he's playing some inspired hard hockey.
Not afraid to use his body or meddle with the goalie, Hunter's been in the right place in the right time for New York, especially (duh) around the crease area so far.
He's also the only Islanders' player to have more than 1 goal on his stat sheet.
The X-Factor: Ryan Smyth
You can argue that Ryan Smyth's output after THE trade, wasn't as good as the Islanders would've liked or expected.
Nevertheless, Captain Canada's putting up quite a show, he's like a wild moose set loose from his cage.
He's going hard into the corners and his forecheck is phenomenal.
He's also doing very well on offence and leads the Islanders in points so far in the playoffs.
He one of their top players now, alongside Jason Blake, and he will be key for the Islanders heading into Friday night's potential last game for them.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jason Blake
Although, you can say Rick DiPietro should be here.
The Minute Men: Marc-Andre Bergeron and Tom Poti
Both are averaging nearly 27 minutes of ice-time and both have put up 2 and 3 points respectively.
They are iron men on the point and have a nice offensive side too.
Watch out Tony Lydman.