Photo: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Penguins win double OT thriller to advance to Cup Final

Chris Kunitz had three points, including the game winner

May 26, 2017 - 12:57 am

Joe DiBiase reporting

The Pittsburgh Penguins are headed to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final, and their fourth in the last decade after defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 7. 

It was only the fourth time in NHL history that a Game 7 needed more than one overtime. The last time was when Stephane Matteau scored to push the New York Rangers past the New Jersey Devils on their way to the Cup in 1994. Chris Kunitz was the hero this time around for Pittsburgh, scoring his first two goals in the playoffs including the game-winner at the 5:09 mark of the second overtime. He also added an assist and was the game's first star.  

The Penguins took the lead twice in the game, but both times the Senators almost immediately answered with game-tying goals. The second of which followed a Justin Schultz powerplay goal with 8:16 remaining in the third period. Ryan Dzingel answered with the tying goal with 5:19 to go. 

In overtime, Erik Karlsson, as he usually does, played an absurd amount of minutes. Karlsson played 39:33 of total ice-time while registering two assists, two shots on goal and a hit.

Guy Boucher really shortened his bench down the stretch. Dzingel, who scored the tying goal, played just 8:32 in over four periods of play. Chris Kelly played just 3:41 of total ice-time on the night. Meanwhile, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone played over 30 minutes. 

The Senators certainly gained respect for their effort this season, although maybe not there strategy with the 1-3-1 system. Craig Anderson, who's wife was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the season, was a great story and helped further it with his incredible play. Anderson stopped 39 of 42 Penguins shots in Game 7, and 45 of 46 in Game 6. Anderson is a nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is rewarded to the player that best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. 

For the Penguins, they will meet the Nashville Predators on Monday for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final from Pittsburgh. The Penguins will attempt to be the first team to go back-to-back since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. 

You can catch the entirety of the Stanley Cup Final on WGR. 

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