2020 nhl playoffs

Tampa Bay center Brayden Point

Chris O'Meara - Associated Press

Just over a month after getting back on the ice, the NHL playoffs have already reached the conference finals.

Dallas Stars v. Las Vegas Golden Knights

Over in the Western Conference, top-seeded Las Vegas has already found themselves in a one-game hole against the Dallas Stars. The Golden Knights have only been in the NHL for three seasons, but this is already their second trip to the Western Conference Finals, with their first trip coming in their expansion season where they downed Winnipeg 4-1 in 2018.

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Colorado Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon

David Zalubowski - AP Photo

After diving into the most important player on each of the eight Eastern Conference teams left in the NHL Playoffs, we now turn our attention to the eight teams left in the Western Conference.

So far the action has been hot in Edmonton for the qualifying round, round robin play, and the early parts of the first round, and doesn't look to cool off anytime soon.

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Tampa Bay RW Nikita Kucherov

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

With the qualifying and round robin round play of the Stanley Cup playoffs having been completed, now we have moved on to the NHL Playoff format that we are all familiar with.

24 teams started play in Toronto and Edmonton, but eight teams have already been sent packing, including the two teams who call the bubble cities home.

What makes the NHL playoffs such an exciting tournament is how one player can have such a huge impact on the game: a goaltender getting hot and turning into a brick, a forward scoring with seemingly every shot he puts on net, or a defenseman who is shutting down the key offensive threats of his opponents. One player finding his groove at the right time could be the difference between a team advancing in the playoffs or heading home.

So who are the most important players left in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs? We'll identify the most important player on each of the eight teams left in the Eastern Conference.

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