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Pair of Game 7s Close Opening Round

The Maple Leafs' win in Toronto on Sunday sets up a go-or-go-home Game 7 with the Bruins on Monday.

The Maple Leafs’ win in Toronto on Sunday sets up a win-or-go-home Game 7 with the Bruins on Monday.

Victories for the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers Sunday saw the two teams stave off elimination, pushing their respective series to a decisive Game 7.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise in this truncated season that there will be a quick turnaround, with both games being played on Monday evening.

Read on for the BettingSports.com preview of these critical Game 7s.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (Game 7)

TD Garden, Boston, MA (7:00 pm ET)

It took the better part of 60 minutes, but the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to stay alive Sunday night, defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 to tie the opening round series at 3-3.

Third period goals from Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel proved enough to put Boston’s advances on ice, at least for the time being. A Milan Lucic goal with 0:26 left in the game made the final seconds uncomfortable for the Leafs.

Kessel’s late goal proved to be the winner, the second of the series for the winger who was traded from Boston to Toronto back in 2009.

The Leafs hadn’t beaten the Bruins in a playoff game in Toronto since Mar. 31, 1959. With that negative trend severed, the Leafs will look to snap another on Monday; the side is just 1-8 in series after trailing 3-1.

20 teams (from 229) have previously won Game 7 after trailing the series 3-1. The most recent instance of this was the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers. Who did the Flyers beat? The Bruins.

Toronto is 12-9 (.571) all-time in Game 7s though, a record that passes Boston’s marker of 12-11 (.521), so the side will have something to buoy it going forward.

Boston will be looking to stave off elimination in the opening round for the second straight year after disappointing falling to Washington in seven games last season. The Bruins lost 2-1 in overtime in Game 7, which could be a sign of things to come on Monday night.

Boston (-186) opens as the favorite for the seventh time this series. Toronto (+169) will be looking to scores its fourth, and biggest, upset of the series.

For more analysis of this series, click here.

Henrik Lundquist came up big in Game 6. Now the Rangers need to win on the road in Game 7.

Henrik Lundquist came up big in Game 6. Now the Rangers need to win on the road in Game 7.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals (Game 7)

Verizon Center, Washington, DC (8:00 pm ET)

Once again it was the home team that emerged victorious in Sunday’s Game 6 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals.

After the two teams combined for 14 goals in the first two meetings at Madison Square Garden, it was a much tighter affair on Sunday. Derrick Brassardi scored the only goal of the game 9:39 into the second period, beating Capitals netminder Braden Holtby on a deflection. The Rangers victory sets up a decisive Game 7 in Washington.

The game marks the third time in five seasons the Rangers and Capitals will contest a Game 7. Washington was victorious back in 2009, while New York finished the series with a win last season.

Washington also took a 4-1 series win over the Rangers in 2011. This regular postseason rivalry makes this game essential viewing.

Whilst the Rangers were undoubtedly up against the wall on Sunday, Monday’s game takes things to a whole other level. John Tortorella’s side has scored only two goals against Holtby at the Verizon Center this series. Holtby has been outstanding, stopping 167 or 178 shots this series. Those numbers have him standing shoulder-to-shoulder with veteran Henriq Lundquist, who has stopped 179 of 191.

With the home team having taken each of the last nine playoff meetings between the two sides, it should come as no surprise that Washington (-126) opens as the favorite on the moneyline over the Rangers (+114).

For more analysis of this game, click here.

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Game 6 and Game 7 have been played on back-to-back days just five times before. Monday’s pair of Eastern Conference games will mark the sixth and seventh time respectively this has happened.

The home team has gone 3-2 during the previous five games played under these circumstances. However, the home side is 3-0 in the Eastern Conference, which makes for good reading for Boston and Washington.

The two winners will meet in the Eastern Conference semifinals (schedule TBD).

* * * * *

The Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, defeating the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime for a 4-2 series win. The top-seeded Penguins will face the No. 7 seeded Ottawa Senators, who made short work of a beaten up Montreal Canadiens side, winning the series 4-1.

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