In my latest Foxsports.com column I ranked those players I considered the best performers (so far) of each Conference Quarter-Final series.
It's only fitting therefore I list those who've yet to play up to expectations in their respective series. In no particular order:
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers. This season was a disappointment for Gaborik, who might perhaps still be hampered by an early season shoulder injury, and it hasn't gotten any better in the opening round of the playoffs. Gaborik had only one point in four games (a goal in Game Four), and his brain cramp in double OT not only resulted in the Capitals netting the game-winner, but may have dashed the Rangers' hopes of rebounding in this series.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning. One of the league's top superstars and leading scorers in the regular season, Stamkos struggled mightily in his first NHL post-season series, netting only two assists in his first four games against Pittsburgh. Whatever the reason (nerves, hidden injury, Penguins checking), Stamkos' puzzling inability to score in this series is one reason the Lightning were on the verge of elimination.
Tomas Kaberle, Boston Bruins. Acquired from Toronto to add more mobility and offensive production to the Bruins blueline, Kaberle posted no points in his first three games against the Canadiens, sparking speculation the B's could cut him loose to free agency this summer if he doesn't pick up his game soon.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes. Not to kick a guy when he's down, or when his club – facing relocation rumors – was swept out of the first round, but Bryzgalov poor performance against the Red Wings (4 GP, 0-4, 4.36 GAA, .879 SP) was among the main reasons the Coyotes are no longer playing in this year's post-season.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks. For years, Thornton's been dogged with the reputation of playoff under-achiever, and his stats in the first three games of the Sharks first round series against the LA Kings (3 GP, 0G, 1A, 1 Pt) has done little to remove that label so far.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators. He was amongst the league's best goalies during the regular season but was inconsistent in the Predators opening round series against Anaheim. After four games, Rinne's 3.75 GAA and .860 SP ranked him amongst the worst of the post-season goalies in the first round.
Brad Boyes, Buffalo Sabres. His acquisition at the trade deadline was a significant factor in the Sabres remarkable late-season rally to clinch a post-season berth, with 14 points in 21 games. After four games in Buffalo's opening round match-up against the Flyers however, he had yet to tally a point.
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks. Among the Blackhawks leading scorers in the regular season, Hossa had a disappointing performance in his club's opening games of their conference QF against Vancouver, notching only an assist in four games.