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

Chris Kunitz's goal in double overtime clinched Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night, as the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

The Ottawa goaltender would like to chalk his 45-save masterpiece in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh up to his own brilliance.

The Senators were bidding to make it for the first time since 2007 but instead dropped to 0-6 all-time in Game 7s.

"He cares so much about this Penguins team and trying to help this team win", head coach Mike Sullivan said earlier in the series against Ottawa. Now here we are with the teams playing in game seven where the victor will go on to face the Nashville Predators in the NHL Championship while the loser's season comes to a crashing end.

Schultz scored on a blast from the point at 11:44 of the third on Pittsburgh's first power play of the game for a short-lived 2-1 Penguins lead.

"That's probably been my toughest decision all year long - to keep him out (of most playoff) games", Boucher said Thursday morning of Kelly, who had played only one post-season game previously after suiting up in all 82 during the regular season. That probably means little for this Game 7 against the Sens, even less so given how forceful he's grown over the course of the series. He also wanted to make sure his teammates remained poised as the pressure rose. "We've got to embrace it and we've got to get excited about it, and I think our players are excited about it". Erik Karlsson - Ottawa's superstar defenceman had a pair of assists and played a game-high 39:33 in the Game Seven loss.

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The game was almost halfway through regulation before the Penguins scored the first goal off a two-on-one against Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson. He had a.922 save percentage in 19 playoff games.

Game 7 offers the Penguins and their stars the opportunity to cement their legacy while the Senators can complete an improbable run to their sport's biggest stage. It was the second goal of the game for Kunitz, who hadn't scored since February 16.

Sullivan always has his team focused only on the moment in front of them.

"We all come from difference places and need to respect each other's opinions and so that's what we have been working on", Nicholl said. That belonged to the 37-year-old Kunitz, who didn't score a goal this postseason until he found the net in the second period.

Getting to the final for the fourth time in less than 10 years (he's 2-1 so far following appearances in 2008, '09 and '16) would be a remarkable feat on its own for the Cole Harbour, N.S., native and a rarity in today's parity-infested National Hockey League.

"He's one of our leaders in the room for a reason", said forward Conor Sheary, who was on a line with Kunitz on Thursday. "I just tried to lay it there for him". He has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in 15 playoff games.

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