NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for May 14 ScheduleMay 14, 2022
Saturday's trio of Game 7s has the potential to be one of the most exciting days in recent Stanley Cup Playoffs history.
Well, perhaps that's more likely to be true if you are a neutral observer of Saturday's action.
Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs will be the most on edge about their team's chances to advance through to the second round.
Toronto has lost its last five first-round series and is facing the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion in an elimination game. The Tampa Bay Lightning are used to the pressure that comes with a Game 7, and that could play in their favor if the game is close late into the third period.
The Edmonton Oilers will shoulder plenty of pressure north of the border as well on Saturday as they try to knock out the Los Angeles Kings. Edmonton needs to be better on home ice to close out the series after losing twice to the Kings in Alberta.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins kick off the three-game Game 7 marathon on Saturday afternoon.
The home team has won each of the first six games in the Eastern Conference series, which bodes well for the Hurricanes' chances of moving on.
Saturday NHL Playoff Schedule
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Boston (+120; bet $100 to win $120) at Carolina (-140; bet $140 to win $100) (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Tampa Bay (+110) at Toronto (-125) (7 p.m. ET, TNT)
Los Angeles (+175) at Edmonton (-215) (10 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Carolina Holds Serve At Home
The home team is 6-0 in the Boston-Carolina series, and each of those victories came by multiple goals. The Hurricanes have a three-goal victory and two four-goal triumphs on their home ice.
Carolina thumped Boston by a 5-1 score in Game 5 before the Bruins returned the favor in Game 6 with a 5-2 victory.
Carolina's offense has been less active than Boston's. The Bruins have 23 more shots in the series, but Hurricanes goalies Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov have combined for a .918 save percentage. Raanta has the best number in the series at .926, while Boston's Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have a .895 save percentage.
Carolina's goaltending and defending could propel it past the Bruins into the second round.
Boston has not scored more than two goals on the road during the series. The Canes produced five goals in each of their three home contests.
The Bruins could reverse that through Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. The trio combined for 14 shots in Game 5, but all of them were held off the scoresheet.
As long as Carolina's defense remains firm, it should avoid an onslaught from Boston's top line.
Toronto Suffers Another Playoff Heartbreak
First-round heartbreak has become Toronto's thing in the postseason.
The Maple Leafs are headed in that direction again on Saturday against a team with much more experience winning elimination games in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay proved its mettle in Game 6 as it battled out an overtime victory on home ice.
The Lightning were down a goal entering the third round. Nikita Kucherov scored the equalizer in the third, and Brayden Point knocked in the game-winning tally.
Kucherov and Point are two of the many players on the Lightning roster who could have no problem stepping up in Game 7 because of how often they have participated in pressure-packed moments over the last two seasons.
Toronto has been in similar situations in the first round, but it has been unable to get over that hurdle in the last five seasons.
The Maple Leafs do not have any momentum on their side, and they could come out tight in the first period since all the pressure is on them to end the run of first-round exits.
Toronto needs a performance similar to the 5-0 Game 1 win to feel comfortable, but that likely will not happen against a Lightning squad that scored eight goals in its last two trips to the Ontario ice and scored at least four goals in four of the last five contests.
Edmonton Takes Care of Series At Home
Edmonton comes into Saturday in a much different mental state than its Canadian rival to the east.
The Oilers snatched back the momentum in their series with the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 with a 4-2 road victory.
Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Co. played well in Game 5, but an early overtime goal from the Kings' Adrian Kempe put them behind in the series.
Edmonton's biggest stars were all over the Kings defense in the third period of Game 5, and they played a role in three of the four goals scored in Game 6.
The Oilers still have pressure on them to win at home to keep Canada's Stanley Cup dream alive and set up a potential Battle of Alberta with the Calgary Flames. They feel better equipped to handle business at home than the Leafs.
McDavid and Co. proved in Game 6 they could rally back from a tough defeat, and that could be what propels them into the second round.
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