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San Jose Sharks' right wing Martin Havlat (top) celebrates his 2nd period power play goal against the St. Louis Blues during their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal playoff hockey game in St. Louis, Missouri, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Sarah Conard (SARAH CONARD)
San Jose Sharks' right wing Martin Havlat (top) celebrates his 2nd period power play goal against the St. Louis Blues during their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal playoff hockey game in St. Louis, Missouri, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Sarah Conard (SARAH CONARD)

GLOBE ON HOCKEY

Marty Havlat: Mr. Clutch? Add to ...

This was why the San Jose Sharks dealt Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat last July.

They wanted what he brings in the playoffs – and what Heatley doesn't – as Havlat has surprisingly been a very regular playoff contributor when his teams have made it in.

Among players with 20 postseason games played since the lockout, he ranks fifth in points per game, with 30 points in 27 games for Ottawa, Chicago and after two goals on Thursday night, including the double overtime winner, San Jose.



<iframe width="460" height="264" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zMYbLZtRBzc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Havlat played 21:30 in his first playoff game as a Shark, skating on a line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe, and looked like a difference maker.

He's run into plenty of injury problems so far in San Jose, missing all but 39 regular season games mainly due to hurting himself climbing over the boards in a game against the Edmonton Oilers in mid-December.

His fragility has always been an issue (even if he'd been relatively healthy the three years before this one) but the Sharks felt they could live with that as long as he delivered in a few big games.

So far, so good.

"I don't think it's just me, I think everybody in the NHL wants to be in the playoffs and have a chance to fight for the Cup," Havlat said after scoring the winner in that video above. "I'm just trying to enjoy it... I'm very excited I could play in the playoffs."

The Sharks record was terrific during the season when Havlat was healthy (25-11-3), making his return from injury another factor that will make this a tough series for the St. Louis Blues.

Another one? How about another former Blackhawk in netminder Antti Niemi, who was terrific in the overtime in keeping his team alive until Havlat's winner.

Wouldn't it be something if San Jose goes on a run in a year when they're a seventh seed after so many disappointing postseasons as the favourite?

Playoff points per game leaders since lockout (min. 20 games)

RK

Player

Current Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PPG

1

Crosby

Pit

63

31

53

84

1.33

2

Ovechkin

Was

38

25

25

50

1.32

3

Jagr

Phi

24

10

18

28

1.17

4

Malkin

Pit

63

29

44

73

1.16

5

Havlat

SJ

27

14

16

30

1.11

6

St. Louis

TB

29

17

15

32

1.10

7

Spezza

Ott

41

13

32

45

1.10

8

P. Kane

Chi

46

20

30

50

1.09

9

Elias

NJ

36

12

27

39

1.08

10

Zetterberg

Det

89

47

48

95

1.07

11

B. Richards

NYR

30

10

22

32

1.07

12

Alfredsson

Ott

39

19

22

41

1.05

13

S. Koivu

Ana

20

4

17

21

1.05

14

Briere

Phi

92

42

53

95

1.03

15

Lecavalier

TB

29

12

18

30

1.03

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