May 28, 2012, 6:35 PM EST
Bryce Salvador wasn’t a part of the New Jersey Devils’ roller coaster of a 2010-11 campaign. He missed their horrid start, startling second half climb, and he wasn’t playing when they were ultimately eliminated in the regular season. Instead, he spent the entire season trying to recover from a concussion.
He returned for the 2011-12 campaign and has managed to play in all 100 of the Devils regular season and playoff games. That’s an accomplishment by itself, but what’s really made him stick out is his performance in the postseason.
Salvador is primarily known for his defensive abilities, but he leads all Devils and Kings blueliners with 11 points in the playoffs. That’s after recording all of nine points in the regular season.
“There is someone like that every year in the NHL playoffs, whether it’s a forward that gets hot or a defenseman that comes out of nowhere or a goaltender that shows up that no one’s heard of,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. “I think that’s the beauty of the NHL playoffs. And Bryce has been outstanding.”
Players like that are also some of the biggest X-factors in the Stanley Cup finals. Will Salvador continue to perform well beyond expectations or will the Kings do a better job of containing him? One fun statistic to keep in mind is that the Devils are 8-0 in 2012 playoff games where Salvador records at least one point. They are 4-6 in the remainder of their postseason contests.
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