Much like the first two Game 7s of these Stanley Cup Playoffs, the third one in two nights doesn't lack storylines.
Andrei Svechnikov has been going through concussion protocol since his Game 3 dustup with Alex Ovechkin. Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour said Tuesday that the talented Hurricanes forward could play in Game 7 if he's cleared beforehand, according to the team's senior web producer Michael Smith. Brind'Amour had no further update when asked for one Wednesday.
Carolina has proven it can win without Svechnikov, taking two of three from Washington without the dynamic 19-year-old winger in the lineup, but it may have to do that one more time in another win-or-go-home affair against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Even if Svechnikov plays, there will still be questions: Is he fully healthy? How quickly can he shake off the rust after missing a few games? How much of an impact will he ultimately have?
On paper, it might look as though Evgeny Kuznetsov is having a fine series, as he's notched five assists in six games.
However, a closer inspection of his play would indicate otherwise. The typically explosive 26-year-old center hasn't dominated the way he did while leading all playoff point producers last year, and the Capitals will need him to raise his game with the season at stake Wednesday night.
Simply put, Petr Mrazek has to be lights-out for the Hurricanes to vanquish the more experienced Capitals in Game 7.
The Carolina goaltender seized the No. 1 job with stellar play down the stretch in the regular season, but he's been a bit inconsistent so far in the playoffs. Mrazek surrendered four goals in a Game 2 loss and six in a Game 5 defeat but allowed two goals or fewer en route to victories in Games 3, 4, and 6 for a save percentage of .895 across the six first-round contests.
Washington netminder Braden Holtby hasn't been spectacular for the whole series, either, but Mrazek has to outplay his more accomplished counterpart to give Carolina a legitimate chance to pull off the upset.