Hoffman goal helps Sens force Game 7 against Penguins

Game 7, such as the one the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators are facing Thursday in the Eastern Conference Final, brings out a lot of things. The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference final 3-2 and can return to the Stanley Cup Final with a win.

Teams play the whole season for home ice advantage, and that is what the Penguins have. But Ottawa may hold them down one more time, too.

Nobody can predict what will happen in a victor takes all game, but the Senators have already professed that their plan will be to bore the crowd out of the building.

"There's no pressure on us".

The Penguins may not have won Game 6, but they still had a strong showing. "He played well, I've got to give him credit, but I know we've got better".

"How do you think that after you lose 7-0?" He had 7 shots and the Penguins lone goal, one where he took his own rebound off goalie Craig Anderson and deposited it behind him into the net.

"We lost in a way that we didn't want to lose", captain Erik Karlsson said of the Sunday defeat before Tuesday's game. The Senators will likely try to keep him uncomfortable for Game 7 in Pittsburgh, though officials might be quicker to call anything so blatant. Normally, that alone would be enough to consider Crosby a serious factor heading into a do-or-die contest like Wednesday's, but that he's got three goals and five points in the past four games of this series nearly guarantees that he'll have some sort of impact in Game 7. Senators head coach Guy Boucher challenged it, though.

Cullen isn't denying that these games are different. 2-1 win for them, Game 7 on Thursday. "Exhibition games were must-wins".

Officiating is going to be bad throughout games and series for both sides.

"I think (it's) just the fact that it's coming down to one game, and everything that's led up to now really doesn't matter", Murray said Wednesday. Everyone was on the same page, leaving a positive feeling, with Boucher asking his team to play within themselves like the one that made them one of the NHL's final three. Pittsburgh has shown flashes of dominance during this series including a 7-0 win in Game 5 of this series, but Ottawa's stingy defense and goaltending has shut down the dynamic Pittsburgh Penguin offense throughout most of this series.

Whichever team comes out on top in this series will make for an interesting storyline heading into the Stanley Cup Finals against the Nashville Predators.

Maybe the embarrassment of the loss was what Ottawa needed.

"They're so competitive", said Penguins winger Carter Rowney. "As a young player, you always think, 'There's always next year.' When you get to be a guy my age, you run out of next years. That's what we did (Tuesday)".

Bobby Ryan also scored a rare power-play goal for Ottawa and Craig Anderson was terrific with 44 saves. "I feel like this team, I've never been on a team that reloads as quick as we do and that's what this time of year is all about". This is as good as it gets if you're a hockey player. "We're going to enjoy it, and it's not going to be easy". Hopefully that play continues into Game 7. "We can't ask for anything better than this, but we just have to have fun with that".

Hagelin and the Rangers won two Game 7s that year, another in 2013 and two more on their way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. "You want an National Hockey League job where you have a chance", Boucher said.

The Senators had little going until a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24 just past the midway point of the period.

"Anderson had a big night". "Any time it's an elimination game, you want to just come out and give it your best effort".

  • Julie Sanders