While the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs has included a few too many blowouts for our liking, it has also provided at least three Game 7s, the ultimate "tension convention."

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Saturday will be the first time since Apr. 30, 2014, that there will be three Game 7s played on the same day, and it will also be the first time in NHL history that two Game 7s will be hosted by Canadian teams on the same day.

To help get you ready for Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning-Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings-Edmonton Oilers, we're breaking down a path to victory for each team, identifying the X factors in all three contests and making final-score predictions.

Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes

4:30 p.m. ET 

Leading scorers: Brad Marchand, Bruins (4 G | 7 A)
Tony DeAngelo, Hurricanes (1 G | 7 A)

Path to victory for Boston: The best news for the Bruins here is they've got nothing to lose. Carolina has been the better team in this series overall. They were the higher seed going in. Yet Boston still stands with a chance to advance past them.

All the pressure is on Carolina to perform in Game 7. The Bruins simply get to go out and play. And that will be the Bruins' superpower. They have the veteran know-how from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. They have the goal-scoring talents of David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall. They have rock-solid goaltending from Jeremy Swayman, and a back end led by the talents of Charlie McAvoy. To win Game 7, Boston has to just be itself. — Shilton

Path to victory for Carolina: This is why the regular season matters. The Hurricanes return to Raleigh licking their wounds, but knowing that they've absolutely dominated the Bruins on home ice in this series.

They've outscored them 15-4, but more importantly, they've scored early and often. Carolina had leads of 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0 in their home wins. They've taken fewer penalties in all three home games. They've gotten better goaltending, as Antti Raanta has a .974 save percentage in Raleigh. They can get the matchups they want against the Bruins' top two lines. "Obviously at home you get the last change, which is an advantage. But you still have to come to play," said defenseman Jaccob Slavin. With the volume and ferocity of their home fans, they'll come to play. — Wyshynski


Shilton's X factor: This could come down to goaltending. Carolina has played the entire series without starter Frederik Andersen. Raanta has been great in his absence, and Swayman has been equally good since taking over for Linus Ullmark. Swayman is riding the high of a Game 6 win though, and that confidence could carry over in a big way for the Bruins.


Wyshynski's X factor: Line matching. Coach Rod Brind'Amour waved the white flag in Boston when it came to getting Sebastian Aho away from the Bruins' duo of Bergeron and Marchand. The Bruins had the last change, and Bergeron played the majority of his minutes against the Hurricanes' top line. In their previous three wins, Carolina sent out Jordan Staal's line as a countermeasure against Bergeron and Marchand, while getting Aho away from them. Do that again, and it could be the Aho line that's the difference in Game 7.