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It all comes down to this! Yet another Game 7 begins this evening at 8pm EST, with the season on the line for the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.

For the Hurricanes, this is a big deal. This is their competitive window, they’ve been knocking at the door for four seasons now, and they need to find a way through. For the Rangers, they’re loose and happy to be here. This is the first season where the Rangers are competitive coming out of their rebuild, and they’ve taken advantage of everything that’s gone their way.

Who wins? The team with the pressure on or the team without?

Carolina Hurricanes to win (-145)

The Hurricanes have not won a game on the road in these playoffs, and they are undefeated at home. Luckily for them, they were an incredible team in the regular season and have earned the right to home ice advantage throughout the playoffs now that the Panthers are out.

Igor Shesterkin is a mountain to ascend for Carolina, and it’s not like it’s easy to defend the Rangers’ top players like Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Artemi Panarin, but the Hurricanes have been so incredibly strong at home it would be crazy to ignore it.

There’s also the fact that the Hurricanes have controlled 58.4 per cent of the expected goals at 5-vs-5 in the series, and 58.3 per cent in all situations. They are undeniably the better team in this series, and have controlled nearly 63 per cent of the high danger chances in the series at even strength. At the end of the day, with home ice advantage, I think the better team prevails.

Under 5 total goals (+115)

So far in this series, five of the six games have ended under the five-goal mark, with the only one to go over it being Game 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The big reason for that result was the Hurricanes’ goaltending, as Antti Raanta has not been great on the road in these playoffs.

The Hurricanes haven’t scored more than three goals in a game against Igor Shesterkin, and they’ve only managed that once. The positive in this scenario for Carolina though, is that Raanta has been nearly unbeatable on home ice in the playoffs. He’s allowed just two goals in three home games in this series, and just one goal per game in the playoffs overall. That combination of goaltending dominance should hold the under well.

Sebastian Aho to score anytime (+165)

A Game 7 is when you need your best players to show up - just ask the Toronto Maple Leafs - and Sebastian Aho hasn’t been good enough in this series overall. With that said, he's scored twice and has three points in the three games in Carolina in the series, and all four of his playoff goals have come at home. 

In both this series and the series against the Bruins, Aho hasn’t scored after Game 2. So, while he’s been instrumental in the Hurricanes building leads, he hasn’t been able to help them close it out. He’s too good of a player for that to continue.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi to score anytime (+400)

Is Kotkaniemi the unluckiest player in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs so far? While Kotkaniemi has been on the ice for the Hurricanes, the team has a 64.26 per cent expected goal share at 5-vs-5, the highest mark on the entire roster in the playoffs, but the actual goals for percentage sits at 24.42 per cent, the worst on the team. Small samples can make or break a player.

Kotkaniemi also has one of the highest expected goal totals among players who have yet to score in these playoffs, which is a new situation for him, after the last two years where he scored nine goals in the playoffs from just 4.66 expected.

While you want your stars to make the plays in Game 7, unlikely sources often produce the game-breaking moments. Kotkaniemi could easily be the guy who does it, with another possibility being Martin Necas.