Game Seven: What to Watch for – Tampa Bay @ Toronto

Game Seven: What to Watch for – Tampa Bay @ Toronto

NHL

Game Seven: What to Watch for – Tampa Bay @ Toronto

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MIKE EHRMANN/GETTY IMAGES

The two best words in sports: Game Seven. There will be three game sevens on Saturday night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Three do or die games. Three game seven heroes. Three teams will advance, and three teams will go home. 

How We Got Here

The Maple Leafs came out in game one and made a statement. Toronto skated circles around the two-time defending champions and showed the entire league that they really could win a first round series. Tampa Bay showed it could still hang as the Bolts took game two to even the series at one.

The series then shifted to Tampa, but the narrative remained the same. The Leafs won game three and the Lightning bounced right back to win game four and evened the series once again. Game five went back to Toronto where the home team pushed the visitors to the brink of elimination.

Game six saw Toronto take a late lead on the road but could not put the Lightning away. Tampa mounted a comeback and forced overtime where Brayden Point kept Tampa alive.

By the Numbers

  • These teams have alternated wins this series and each are 2-1 at home
  • Nikita Kucherov leads Tampa in points with eight this series
  • Auston Matthews lead Toronto in points with eight and leads all skaters in goals (4)
  • Toronto is second in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 55.8% this postseason
  • Goals have been common as the teams are combining for an average of 6.5 goals per game in the first six games of the series
  • The team that scored first has won five of six games in this series

What to Expect

The game, unlike most game sevens, is going to be high flying and high scoring. This game will come down to two things: which team will capitalize on its opportunities more and which goaltender will make that timely save. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy and Tampa hold the edge over Jack Campbell and the Leafs in terms of playoff experience. Toronto also has a bad history in game sevens since 2004. However, this game seven is in Toronto, which hasn’t happened since then. The Leafs are going to have the crowd behind them.

While some game sevens produce the unlikeliest of heroes, this game will be a battle of the superstars. Whichever top six outscores the other will win this game.

Prediction

I’m sticking with my original prediction of Toronto by a score of 5-4.

Game Seven Hero: Mitch Marner

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