Want to win in the playoffs? Have a two-way player to lead the way

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When you take a look at the teams left in the postseason, there’s something most of them has that shows what helped get them there. Having a dominant two-way forward that can both score and defend against the opponents top line gives them a double threat.

Players like this year’s Selke Trophy finalists in Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, and Pavel Datsyuk show having a weapon like that will get you places in the postseason. As Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told the Associated Press, it makes life easier to have them in the lineup.

“You need those kind of players to win, to be successful. Because you’re going to have times, usually half the time in your shift you’re going to be in your own end or you’re going to have to be defending,” said Quenneville, “and knowing where you have to go and coming up with loose pucks or forcing these guys to make indirect plays where you get the puck back, there’s a skill involved there and there’s some work that’s involved.”

You look elsewhere and you can throw Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar into this group as well and it’s just further proof to the point. If you want to win and go deep in the postseason, having a top centerman who can score, create plays, and defend you’ll do well.