The Stanley Cup Playoffs got a lot more interesting when both the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs staved off elimination to force a pivotal Game 7, but which teams will be victorious on Monday night?
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will have a home-ice advantage, but can each team rebound from a Game 6 loss? Game 7s are the greatest of all sporting events, and here is a prediction on which teams will win them on Monday.
Henrik Lundqvist posted a shutout in Game 6.
Series: Tied at 3-3
Game 1, Washington 3, New York 1, (Washington Leads 1-0)
Game 2, Washington 1, New York 0, OT, (Washington Leads 2-0)
Game 3, New York 4, Washington 3, (Washington Leads 2-1)
Game 4, New York 4, Washington 3, (Tied 2-2)
Game 5, Washington 2, New York 1, OT, (Washington Leads 3-2)
Game 6, New York 1, Washington 0, (Tied 3-3)
In this series, the home team has won each game, but anything can happen in a Game 7. The series has been very close, as all but one game has been decided by one goal. The Rangers received great goaltending in Game 6, and they will look for that to carry over to finish the series.
The Capitals, on the other hand, will be looking for Alex Ovechkin to have a big game. He has been kept off the board for four straight games, and that is something that can't happen in a Game 7.
Derick Brassard has been the best player in this series.
New York Rangers defeat Washington Capitals 2-1
This series has featured solid goaltending and defense, and that will benefit the Rangers in Game 7. Henrik Lundqvist has more experience than Braden Holtby, and he has a great record in elimination games.
Lundqvist and Holtby have been pretty solid for each of their teams, but history favors the Rangers netminder heading into Monday night.
In his last five elimination games, Lundqvist is 4-1 with a 1.40 GAA, a .947 save percentage and one shutout. With this stat in mind, it is hard not to pick a New York Rangers team that will be riding momentum.
Another reason for picking the Rangers includes how their defense has been effective in shutting down the Capitals' top players.
Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, John Moore and Anton Stralman have done a good job shutting down Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom throughout the series, and that is why they aren't leading the series in scoring.
Instead, the Rangers have players like Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin who are leading the way offensively. Brassard is the series leader with seven points, and he has been a huge factor for New York.
While anything can happen in Game 7, history favors the Rangers and they are also riding some solid momentum.
James Reimer's play enabled Toronto to force a Game 7.
Series Tied at 3-3
Game 1, Boston 4, Toronto 1, (Boston Leads 1-0)
Game 2, Toronto 4, Boston 2, (Tied 1-1)
Game 3, Boston 5, Toronto 2, (Boston Leads 2-1)
Game 4, Boston 4, Toronto 3, OT (Boston Leads 3-1)
Game 5, Toronto 2, Boston 1, (Boston Leads 3-2)
Game 6, Toronto 2, Boston 1, (Tied 3-3)
This series featured two Northeast Division rivals, and it seemed like the Bruins would walk away with the series after taking a 3-1 lead by winning Game 4. That wasn't the case, as the Leafs would rally to win two straight games and force a pivotal Game 7.
The Leafs have received amazing goaltending from James Reimer during the past few games, but can that continue in Game 7?
Tuukka Rask will need to have a big Game 7 for Boston.
Toronto Maple Leafs defeat Boston Bruins 3-2
In this Game 7, the road team will prevail, and the Leafs will advance to the semifinals. So far this series, Bruins have a record of 1-2 at home, and the Leafs have been the better team at TD Garden.
The biggest reason to pick Toronto in this game is James Reimer.
Reimer is in the zone. He has been able to deny players like David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr, and by shutting them down, the Bruins have only scored two goals in the past two games.
For this reason, Toronto should complete the upset by winning Game 7, with Reimer as the X-factor.
Right now, the Leafs are the better team. They have hot goaltending and solid defense, and their offense is starting to click. Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk has played very well as of late, and they are a big reason why the Leafs have won two games in a row.
The Bruins may have a more potent offense and have put up more points, but over the last two games, the Leafs have been playing better.
This Game 7 really could go either way, but James Reimer's play as of late gives the Leafs the advantage.