What to watch in Rangers-Hurricanes Game 7: X factors, predictions
7: 25 AM ET
The first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs gifted hockey fans with five Game 7s — a thrilling conclusion to the initial set of matchups. Of the four second-round series, there will be only one Game 7, and we’re here to make sure you’re ready for it.
The Carolina Hurricanes are hosting the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN), and the home team has won each game in this series. (In fact, the Hurricanes’ home team has won every playoff game, setting a new NHL record. )
Will this trend continue? Or will the Rangers take one in Raleigh? The winner will move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals. Here’s what you need to know:
Line: CAR -150 | Over/under: 5.5
Path to victory for the Rangers
The games in Raleigh haven’t exactly been blowouts. The Rangers held Game 1 in their hands before the Hurricanes found their game in third period. They tied the score with three minutes left and won it in overtime. Although Game 2 was uneventful in terms of the flow of play it was essentially a one-bounce scoreboard game. The same goes for Game 5. Carolina held a narrow lead of just one goal deep into the third period.
The Rangers need to create more 5-on-5 quality chances against this defense. Carolina has had the high-danger scoring chance advantage in all three of its home games. They can win Game 7. If they do that, and get a bounce or two, Especially if Igor Shesterkin continues his quietly great road efforts in this series: . 955 save percentage, 1. 16 goals against average, 3. 26 goals saved above replacement. If he wishes to contribute two assists to the Rangers’ offense, that would be great. — Wyshynski
Path to victory for the Hurricanes
If the previous 13 games are any indication, the path to victory is the road through Raleigh. While they’re now 0-6 on the road, the Hurricanes are 7-0 at home with a plus-17 goal differential, 3. 57 goals per game and a 1. 14 goals against average. They are just a different team at home in every aspect of the game.
The penalty kill that couldn’t stop the Rangers at Madison Square Garden has an 89.5% effectiveness in Raleigh. The power play that couldn’t get a critical goal in Game 6 has a 4.2% conversion rate on the road and a 19.2% conversion rate at home. The Hurricanes have a better game control for long periods at home. They also have better goaltending at home, and they display a physicality that is hard to find on the road. All this in front of raucous fans who know they have a home-ice advantage.
” We hope it’s a contributing factor. It’s been a blessing for us. “So we’re counting it again, for certain,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour stated. — Wyshynski
Shilton’s X factor: The Rangers’ “Kid Line” was reunited to great success at home in Game 6. The Rangers must be a dominant force in Game 7. If they want to advance, they need to be strong again. New York has scored two goals in three games away during this series. Filip Chytil tallied a pair in the Game 6 victory while reunited on a line with Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko after not lighting the lamp since Game 1. It’s a huge boost to the Rangers’ confidence in a crucial moment of the playoffs.
Considering the rollercoaster ride that these three players have been on, and the rest of New York’s offense, stringing together two strong performances could play a pivotal part in lifting the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals.
Wyshynski’s X factor: Carolina’s special teams.
The key to the Hurricanes’ penalty killing is not to have to use it. Carolina won the Raleigh games with the Rangers going 0-for-5 with man advantage. Since then, the Rangers are 5-for-16, scoring at least one power-play goal in every contest since Game 2. The Hurricanes must be disciplined, even though they scored a short-handed goal on Game 5. If the Rangers take a penal, then Carolina’s power plays become the ultimate X factor. The Rangers have killed off 13 of 14 power plays in this series. Carolina took a lead in the second period with the one they didn’t score. The Canes could win anything from Game 7’s power play, which could be a turning point.
Final score predictions:
Shilton: Rangers, 3-2
Wyshynski: Hurricanes, 2-1
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.