Published: Sat, May 27, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

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

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz scored his second goal of the game to beat the Senators 3-2 in double overtime during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Now, Crosby and the Penguins will attempt to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in the salary cap era.

It needed seven games and two overtimes in the finale, but Chris Kunitz netted the game-winner to close out the series for the Penguins on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

The defensive back-and-forth continued after a second-period strike from Kunitz put Pittsburgh up 1-0 - and an immediate Senators response in the form of a Mark Stone goal just 20 seconds later. Kunitz one-timed a pass from Conor Sheary in tight to make it 1-0 at 9:55 of the second period. They edged Tampa Bay in Game 7 of last year's East finals and clinically disposed of Presidents' Trophy victor Washington in Game 7 of the second round earlier this month. Pittsburgh had a chance to wrap things up in game six and punch their ticket to defend their 2016 Stanley Cup title, but Ottawa put up quite a fight inside the Canadian Tire Centre, going up 2-1. If not for him, I think it's a different result.

Schultz was playing his first game since slamming shoulder-first into the boards in Game 2 of the series.

Two senior and junior kindergarten classes at Roberta Bondar Public School have joined forces to teach their students about hockey, and about the current rivalry between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. But as always, the Senators did everything they good to buck the trend, as Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone flew down the ice and Stone potted a flawless wrist shot behind Matt Murray just 20 seconds later. And while Guy Boucher 's physical team failed to convert on a pair of power-play tries, an all-too-familiar issue for the Sens this postseason, it also kept up against Sidney Crosby and the speedy Pens, excelling in efforts to halt second- and third-chance shots in front of Anderson. Thank you to Bryan Murray, Nicholle Anderson, Jonathan Pitre, Clarke MacArthur, and the many other folks in the Senators community for all they went through this year.

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"They gave it their all". Karlsson made another special play on the goal, which came 20 seconds after the Kunitz marker.

With the game at PPG Paints Arena set to determine which club moves on to face Nashville in the Stanley Cup Final beginning Monday, the Penguins and Senators seem to be thinking of every possible advantage while also trying to clear their minds. Ottawa responded immediately with Stone - who stretched his left skate to stay onside - fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Murray.

Once again, the Penguins could not hold the lead.

It was the first multiple-overtime victory on home ice in Penguins history. In a series where 5 of the 7 games could have gone either way, the Pens were one goal better. They were the last team to qualify for the playoffs but have caught fire in the last six weeks, sweeping Chicago in the first round then proving it wasn't a fluke by putting away the Blues and the Ducks.

That's the thrill of a Game 7 - which will wake anyone up.

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