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Aren't Game 7s grand? Sure, you've got similar stakes in, say, the final match of a five-game series, but there's something about Game 7s that excites fans and causes sportswriters to break out the purple prose. Hockey fans are spoiled for choice tonight, as both the Rangers-Capitals and Bruins-Maple Leafs series are tied at three games apiece. Hockey Game 7s have a different tenor than those from other sports -- they seem more like wars of attrition than the titanic personality clashes of the NBA playoffs, or the nervy percentage plays that make up baseball's postseason -- but they're all a blast to watch.


Rangers or Capitals?

The Capitals would seem to have the advantage in this matchup, as the home team has won in every game in this series.

SportsNation

Which team will win Game 7 of the Rangers-Capitals first-round playoff series in Washington?

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Bruins or Maple Leafs?

This series returns to Boston for Game 7, although the normal home-ice advantage seems to have been blunted, as both teams have been able to take games on the road.

SportsNation

Which team will win Game 7 of the Bruins-Maple Leafs first-round playoff series in Boston?

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If a tree falls in the forest ...

The Penguins and Capitals take the ice tonight, but with no Sidney Crosby and the teams ranked No. 8 and No. 10, respectively, in the East, do you care?

SportsNation

Are the Penguins in trouble?

On the eve of the regular season, SN ranked the Penguins No. 4 in the NHL. They're currently eighth in the East, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets.

SportsNation

Are the Capitals in trouble?

Of course, it could be worse. SN ranked the Capitals No. 3 overall in the preseason. If the playoffs started today, they wouldn't be included.

SportsNation

Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby?

Alex Ovechkin showed some signs of life recently, but he's tied for 18th in goals a season after slipping from 50-plus goals to 32. Is he still a better bet than Crosby?

SportsNation

Will we see Crosby again this season?

Crosby showed the skills we remember in a short return to the ice, but do you expect a second return after he was sidelined again by concussion-like symptoms?

SportsNation

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Sidney Crosby wasn't on the ice, but Thursday's game between the Penguins and Captials sure felt like a rivalry when Arron Asham and Jay Beagle dropped the gloves. Penguins tough guy Asham took exception to Beagle's roughing penalty on Kris Letang. The ensuing fight left Beagle on the ice and Asham skating away making gestures suggesting he put his opponent to sleep. All fair by the code of hockey?


Example or embarrassment?

"Right there is what fighting is for. It was a message sent; there was a reason that fight happened. It wasn't just violence. It wasn't just two guys trying to put on a show." -- Barry Melrose

SportsNation

What about Asham's reaction?

The fight may have been part of the hockey code, but what about Asham's gestures as he skated away and Beagle lay on the ice?

SportsNation

What is fighting's future?

The NHL has cracked down on hits to the head during the course of play, but will fights like Thursday's ever be eliminated?

SportsNation

What about the Pens and Caps?

By the way, the Capitals beat the Penguins 3-2 in overtime to remain perfect and hand their otherwise unbeaten rivals a second overtime loss.

SportsNation

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We can understand if you don't want to take the time to grade your tech-support help on the other end of the telephone, but when we're talking about the dollars and emotion you've invested in sports, we think it's worth the effort. It's time for ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings, in which SportsNation grades organizations on everything from ticket prices and stadium experience to the talent on the field, court or rink. Which team will end up on top this year? It depends on what you say.

Take part in the 2011 MLB survey
2010 MLB Ultimate Standings
1. Los Angeles Angels (Overall: No. 3)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Overall: No. 6)
3. Colorado Rockies (Overall: No. 13)
4. Minnesota Twins (Overall: No. 14)
5. Atlanta Braves (Overall: No. 15)

Take part in the 2011 NFL survey
2010 NFL Ultimate Standings
1. New Orleans Saints (Overall: No. 1)
2. Indianapolis Colts (Overall: No. 4)
3. Green Bay Packers (Overall: No. 9)
4. Arizona Cardinals (Overall: No. 19)
5. Baltimore Ravens (Overall: No. 20)

Take part in the 2011 NBA survey
2010 NBA Ultimate Standings
1. Orlando Magic (Overall: No. 2)
2. San Antonio Spurs (Overall: No. 7)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Overall: No. 10)
4. Dallas Mavericks (Overall: No. 24)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (Overall: No. 25)

Take part in the 2011 NHL survey
2010 NHL Ultimate Standings
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (Overall: No. 5)
2. Detroit Red Wings (Overall: No. 8)
3. Washington Capitals (Overall: No. 11)
4. San Jose Sharks (Overall: No. 12)
5. Chicago Blackhawks (Overall: No. 16)

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