Will the Tampa Bay Lightning maintain their bid for three peats or will the Toronto Maple Leafs win a playoff series for the first time since 2004?
Will the Carolina Hurricanes advance with a home win or will the Boston Bruins become the first team in the series to achieve a victory on the road?
Will Edmonton Oilers star Conor McDavid fight another big game to reach the second round for the second time in his career, or will Los Angeles Kings striker Dustin Brown get a chance to extend his career?
These questions will be determined as three series from Round One will go to Game Seven on Saturday.
USA TODAY Sports’ NHL experts Jimmy Hasscope, and Jess Evans, explain their predictions:
Boston Bruins in the Carolina hurricanes
4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ET
Hascup: Bruins 3, Hurricanes 2. Bruins goalkeeper Jeremy Swayman will have to prove that winning Game 6 in a do-or-die mode was no fluke, but also the secondary scoring when the Hurricanes can line up against them. Game 6 was a good sign as Eric Howla and Curtis Lazar scored their first playoffs, while Charlie Coyle got his second.
Brim: Hurricanes 4, Bruins 2. I said in my prediction series that the Hurricanes would win by seven because coach Rod Brendamore would get on the ice in the deciding game. The series has been done that way, so I’ll stay with Carolina.
Evans: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 3. Home ice made all the difference in the series and Carolina dedicated it to Game 7.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
7 p.m. ET on Saturday, TNT
Hascup: Lightning 4 and Maple Leafs 2. Lightning has a lot of experience in the playoffs, so the pressure of Game 7 on the road won’t be much… and until the two-time title holder gets kicked out, it’s hard to put them together. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are… well, they haven’t made it past the first round since the 2003-04 playoffs, and even though they’ve made it to the post-season in six straight seasons, they’ve lost three games in Game 7 in that span. .
Brim: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3. The Maple Leafs have lost eight potential winning streaks since 2018, and it will be nine. Lightning dug deep to win Game 6 and they have the championship pedigree to do it again in Toronto.
Evans: Lightning 3, Maple Leafs 1. No group will be under more pressure to win Saturday night than the Maple Leafs. They were pretty much the better team in the series, but I’ve been burned by this group so many times that I think a winner-takes-all game would be different.
Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers
10 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN
Hascup: Kings 4, Oilers 3. Realize that it’s not wise to pick against the team that includes Conor McDavid and Leon Drysittel and that the Oilers have outdone Los Angeles in the series as a whole. But I pick the Kings in seven and I’m sticking with it… Plus, the Oilers are trying to win the Stanley Cup with Mike Smith at the net.
Prem: Oilers 4, Kings 3. I also have questions about Mike Smith in the network, but Conor McDavid could up his game again and overtake the Kings.
Evans: Oilers 4, Kings 2. Los Angeles had a brave fight but Edmonton has the best player in the world for my money. Conor McDavid was a monster in Game 6 and I think he rose to the occasion once again to drag his flawed team into the second round.