NHL playoffs Game 7 picks for Sunday: Two more first-round series feature pivotal final game

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The New York Rangers have rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7, but they did that after Sidney Crosby went out with an injury in Game 5.

Crosby took part in a limited practice on Saturday, along with injured players Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell. Jarry hasn't played since April 14 and Rakell was injured in Game 1.

Could those players be available for the game at Madison Square Garden?

"We’ll take each day as it comes," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday. "I'm not going to speculate at this point. They’re obviously on the ice. That’s encouraging. They’re making progress."

The Dallas Stars visit the Calgary Flames in the other Game 7, with the winner advancing to face the Edmonton Oilers. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov will be available for Calgary after NHL Player Safety cleared him for his hit on Dallas' Luke Glendening.

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New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) attempts to skate around a check by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson (5) during Game 6 of the first round of the NHL playoffs.
New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) attempts to skate around a check by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson (5) during Game 6 of the first round of the NHL playoffs.

USA TODAY Sports' NHL experts Jimmy Hascup, Mike Brehm and Jace Evans make their predictions for Sunday's two Game 7s.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

7 p.m. ET Sunday, TBS

Hascup: Rangers 4, Penguins 2. Sometimes results don’t make sense, but that’s sports, right? The Rangers have been a mess defensively. Sidney Crosby appears to be rejoining the Penguins’ lineup — and potentially Rickard Rakell and Tristan Jarry, too. But the Rangers have shown resiliency in erasing a 3-1 series deficit and the home crowd will be behind Igor Shesterkin.

Brehm: Rangers 4, Penguins 2. The Rangers are gelling and the Penguins are struggling on special teams. Getting Sidney Crosby and Tristan Jarry back, if that happens, will help the special teams, but Jarry hasn't played in a month.

Evans: Rangers 3, Penguins 2. If Sidney Crosby plays, the Penguins will win. But if he doesn't, the Blueshirts will ride a rocking home crowd to victory.

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames

9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Hascup: Flames 3, Stars 1. Credit goes to the Stars and (mostly) Jake Oettinger for pushing this series to seven games. But Matthew Tkachuk had 42 goals this season and has none in this series, so it’s time for him to be a difference maker.

Brehm: Stars 3, Flames 1. I originally picked the Flames to win in five, but I like how the Stars have pushed it to seven, especially the play of goalie Jake Oettinger. Dallas has held Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane (117 combined regular-season goals) to two goals in this series.

Evans: Flames 3, Stars 0. Credit the Stars for grinding this series to seven games, but the Flames – one of the best teams in the league this season – should win at home.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL scores picks for playoff Game 7s: Second-round matchup on the line

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