With the puck set to drop on the NHL playoffs, let's takes a look at the X-factors in each series, those certain someones (or somethings) who will impact the fortunes of each of the 16 teams in the eight opening-round matchups.
WEST PREVIEWS: Hawks-Wild | Ducks-Red Wings | Canucks-Sharks | Blues-KingsEAST: Penguins-Islanders | Canadiens-Senators | Capitals-Rangers | Bruins-Leafs
Can the Kings repeat? Are the Penguins as good as people think? Was the Blackhawks' streak during the regular season merely a fluke? Who are some of the established veterans and unknown stars-to-be hovering on the edge of the playoff spotlight? What will the lower-seeded teams have to do in order to pull off an upset?
Here are eight video breakdowns exploring the X-factors that could determine the course of the first round of the NHL's postseason.
Eastern Conference X-factors
Western Conference X-factors