We made it to the last two games of round one.To determine which clubs will advance to the next level and which will start their summers early.
This guide will help you get ready for Sunday's NHL Game 7sAt (7 p.m. ET, TNT) and at (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2() — We are predicting the final score and identifying the X factor in both contests, so we can help each team find their way to victory.
(3 G | 6 A), Rangers
Pittsburgh's path to victoryPittsburgh may not be able to predict whether Sidney Crosby will or not.Game 7: A team can only hope (for both).
The Penguins can't care less about who is in the lineup. They should look at what has brought them success to date: the Rangers' netminder.. Through the series' five first games, the Vezina Trophy finalist was at best average. The Penguins provided plenty of scoring and traffic opportunities to make this happen. Crosby was an integral part of Pittsburgh's offensive success, but it is possible to get the formula regardless of whether you're wearing black or gold.
Shesterkin has been New York's MVP for the entire season. This has helped to slow down the pace of, It is useful, but the key to getting through Pittsburgh is recognising that Shesterkin is not impassible, regardless of why. The Penguins have an open door to breaking through. — Shilton
New York's path to victory:The Rangers' easiest way to victory would be one that didn’t have a Crosby roadblock in its path. The Penguins' top line, which is 5-on-5 dominant, acts as a stabilizing force during road games. He's absent from the lineup and the Penguins become a fumbling bunch, giving up two-goal leads post-Crosby in Games 5-6. This is where their special-teams problems get worse.
The Rangers' Game 7 strategy is to not be so defensively pushover in the first half of the game, outside of their lineup. The Rangers, as coach Gerard Gallant said after Game 4, were “playing soft” and the Penguins took a commanding lead in Game 6. It's fantastic that they can score in large numbers and rally against Pittsburgh. Shesterkin said it would be better if they played more 5-on-5 defense. — Wyshynski
Shilton's “X” factor:It's the Penguins' depth scoring. Are they good at it? Crosby may not be available for Game 7. If the Rangers manage to minimize Jake Guentzel's impact, who else can fill in?he has seven points during the playoffs. To date, he has scored four goals in this series. Shesterkin has scored three goals in six games. To advance, the Penguins will need to throw the kitchen sink at Shesterkin; it is not the right time to hold back anyone on Pittsburgh's bench who has access to a puck.
Wyshynski’s X factorShesterkin may still hear the sound of Penguins fans singing his name in Game 7, which is haunting him, along with his performance this series. Shesterkin is the likely winner of The Vezina. He has given up at least three goals in five of six games and was pulled twice in Pittsburgh. Yes, there were some odd bounces. Yes, there were some odd bounces. But the defense was better. These are the things Shesterkin did well in the regular season, and they just haven't translated to the playoffs.
All that is overwritten by a brilliant Game 7, which features a performance that mutes any question of “but can he make it to the playoffs?” It is too early for debate to take root.
Final score prediction Shilton: 5-3 Penguins
Wyshynski – With Crosby: 4-2 Penguins; with Crosby: 5-2 Rangers
(1 G | 5 A), Flames
Dallas is on the right path to victoryKeep up the pace. The Stars' Game 6 victory was undoubtedly their most energetic effort in the series. They used their speed to create offensive opportunities and interrupt Calgary rush attempts.
Another key to Game 7: To hope that Stars' stars will be the difference-makers. Joe Pavelski is the line.The scoring-chance advantage was 12-1 at 5-on-5 Game 6, and Hintz scored a goal. This was the dominant line in the regular season and can continue to be so in Game 7. If goalie Dallas keeps his word and continues to be a good partner. Wyshynski
Calgary's path to victoryThe Joe Pavelski phone line should be turned off. That's it. This is the key.
Calgary proved to be a formidable, supremely skilled defensive team throughout the regular-season. The Flames won't be able to repeat Game 6 with their high-octane talent. They'll have to stop Oettinger from trading rush chances, getting frustrated at Oettinger's inability to stop them. (sidenote: Calgary knows that traffic in front Oettinger's goaltender is okay). Calgary can't be seen yelling at the bench and the Flames banging on the doors won't help. Instead, Calgary must inject that passion into sound defensive zone play, smart breakouts and a punishing frontcheck that slows Dallas down. — Shilton
Shilton's “X” factor:This series, has been the Flames most consistent on-ice presence. Calgary doesn't require flash. There's not much to his game. The Flames need quiet confidence and leadership to make sure they don't lose a fantastic opportunity. Lindholm has that ability. He is as likely to score than anyone else. He's able to win critical faceoffs in any area, and it truly feels like he can make an impact every shift. Lindholm is not to be underrated. He might not be as popular after Game 7.
Wyshynski’s X factorPavelski was signed by the Stars in 2019. They were looking for a player who could play a crucial role in a playoff game. In six playoff games against Calgary, he has two assists and three goals. He is fourth among active players, with 64 postseason goals. He'll be a major part of whatever the Stars do during Game 7. It is just a matter how big a factor he will be in the game.
Final score predictionShilton: 5-3 Flames
Wyshynski: 4-2 Flames