Defensive forwards center stage in NHL playoffs

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:48 p.m. CDT
Caption
Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk (13) controls the puck past Chicago Blackhawks ' Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — If you want to stop a Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews or Patrice Bergeron, it helps to have a Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews or Patrice Bergeron.

The three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the NHL's best defensive forward are all in the playoffs, and it's no coincidence. The league's top teams count on their forwards to also pressure the opponent's top scorers, not only for defensive purposes but to create chances on the other end.

Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Toews of the Blackhawks will be back on the ice when Chicago hosts Detroit in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series on Saturday. Bergeron will try to help the Bruins to a 2-0 lead against the New York Rangers when their series resumes on Sunday.

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