Kunitz's double-OT goal sends Penguins back to Stanley Cup

Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher

Chris Kunitz's knuckling shot from outside the circle fluttered past goalie Craig Anderson 5 minutes, 9 seconds into the second overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.

Opposing the Penguins will be the Nashville Predators, who, unlike their opponents, are making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. Defenceman Cody Ceci had the second-most ice time among Senators skaters, behind Karlsson, but struggled, posting a team-worst 45.8 CF%, and on the ice for seven goals for and 15 against in the postseason. Schultz owns two goals and eight points in 14 playoff games this year.

With a scoreless tie dragging well into the second period and the tension building, the Penguins struck first.

The veteran goaltender twice turned aside prime chances from Phil Kessel, the first on a breakaway and the second clanking off the post and just over the crossbar. The frenetic pace kept up, and Kunitz almost ended it when he batted a puck out of the air later in the extra session.

Matt Murray is expected to start for the Penguins against Craig Anderson of the Senators. "I think both teams like to play a pretty similar style". The puck appeared to sneak under the crossbar, but it actually floated atop the net, fooling some of the fans inside the building.

Crosby also stands to further one of the finest two-year runs in recent hockey memory.

The Senators are trying to win the East for the first time since 2007.


Victory in Game 7 also means Crosby gets to keep adding to playoff numbers that already stack up favourably with the all-time greats.

Kelly entered with a 4-1 career mark in Game 7s. "I feel that definitely today is one of those games that he can be going in and make a contribution".

The amusing part about Tuesday, though, was that the Penguins weren't all that upset with their performance in Game 6. They have scored on him countless times. Out of the entire league's top five point scorers in these playoffs, four of them are Penguins.

The challenge, then, would be sticking with it, on repeating the same sort of effort. They've done this. Considering all they've gone through to get back, they have every intention of doing it again.

Conor Sheary and Kunitz perfectly executed a two-on-one for a 1-0 Penguins lead at 9:55 of the second period, Sheary waiting just long enough before dishing to Kunitz for his first goal since February 16.

But, a little under three minutes later, Ryan Dzingel crushed the Penguins' hopes of winning in regulation, scoring off a deflection following a slap shot near the blue line from Erik Karlsson.

Anderson, of the USA, was the first star in a 2-1 game six Senators victory that set the stage for Thursday's winner-take all showdown in Pittsburgh.

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