The 2013 NHL playoffs have featured some of the wildest postseason games imaginable, and Monday’s action represents the madness thus far perfectly.
Which Game 7 will be more interesting?
Add in the fact that the winner of each series goes on to play the winner of the other series, and Monday’s postseason implications are through the roof.
From the hardcore hockey fans to the casual sports fans who watch the NHL during the playoffs, Monday’s Game 7 action will be unforgettable.
Toronto at Boston: 7 p.m. ET, CNBC
NY Rangers at Washington: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
For the full postseason schedule, check out NHL.com.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Game 7—Series tied 3-3
The Boston Bruins had the Toronto Maple Leafs right where they wanted them with a 3-1 series advantage heading back to Boston, but now this series heads back to Beantown with the series tied at 3-3.
This is now a one-game playoff, and all the momentum is on the side of the Maple Leafs.
Toronto has now won two straight games by a score of 2-1, proving that the Maple Leafs can beat the Bruins at their own defense-first game. Boston has the home-ice advantage Monday, but Toronto has a newfound confidence that will result in a physical game.
As much as the fans want to talk about the offensive units of these two teams or how strong each defensive group is, this Game 7 will be decided by the goaltenders.
Whether it’s Boston’s Tuukka Rask (2.28 goals against average and a .932 save percentage this postseason) or Toronto’s James Reimer (2.58 goals against average and a .932 save percentage), the netminder that plays the game of his life will lead his team to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Expect an all-out war Monday.
Prediction: Bruins 3, Maple Leafs 1
New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Game 7—Series tied 3-3
Besides Game 1 in this series, every game between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals was settled by one goal. The first game was a 3-1 final in favor of Washington, the biggest blowout thus far.
Both the Rangers and Capitals have made the conscious effort to focus on defense first, and while neither team is really known as a juggernaut in its own end, each team has been stingy in all three zones throughout this series.
New York and Washington have the offensive firepower to explode for five or more goals and take charge of the series, but with a team-wide commitment to the defense-first mindset, this series is now all about timely scoring.
Only 23 goals have been scored in this matchup total (12 for the Capitals and 11 for the Rangers), but instead of it coming from the normal names NHL fans are accustomed to—like Alex Ovechkin or Rick Nash—stars like Derick Brassard for New York and Mathieu Perreault for Washington are stepping up at the right time.
There is now just one game separating these teams from the second round, and the resulting battle will be the most physical of the series. This will be an instant classic.
Prediction: Rangers 2, Capitals 1