What to Watch for: Can Senators punch ticket to Stanley Cup Final?

Things got off to a rough start for the Penguins star who took an elbow to the head early in the first period from the Ottawa Senators' Mark Stone. What I do think it highlights though is that it's not particularly stunning when Anderson does steal a game for Ottawa.

It's crunch time in the Eastern Conference Final, as the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will duke it out in Game 7 at PPG Paints Arena to determine which team will face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final.

It will come down to just one more game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in their series to reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Sure, there have been some lucky bounces here and there - every team at this stage of the season has a pocket full of those - but let's give credit where credit is due. "I have total confidence in them that they will, and then the game goes on, and we need to manage what we need to manage at that point".

Can they knock out the champs?

For Pittsburgh, falling in this Game 7 would mean failing to defend last year's Stanley Cup championship.

The Senators haven't played in a Game 7 since the 2012 Eastern Conference quarter-finals where they were eliminated by the New York Rangers. UFC Fight Night 109 takes place this Saturday but it is live from Sweden and takes place at 10 a.m. PT, so don't forget about a little morning MMA action! Both players will assuredly when the Senators season is on the line tonight at 8 PM in Canada's capital city. I think the most pivotal player in this game will be Karlsson, because he's got to find his poise under pressure as he has before, even in the small things.

As for the Penguins, coach Mike Sullivan said he has some game-time decisions to make with his lineup too. The game was keep the ball in the air, and if it hit the ground on your watch, you're out. The Senators were a decent defensive team all season before overreacting and getting away from what they do best in an embarrassing 7-0 loss on Sunday. In Game 4, the Brian Dumoulin-Ron Hainsey defensive pairing spent almost 10 minutes at even strength in Game 4 defending against Ovechkin's line. The victor ill go on to face the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan didn't get an explanation for the decision, nor did he ask for one. "I've lived it for quite a few years, and it's hell when you don't have it because everything you do turns to darkness, and there's nothing that really matters when you don't have a real No. 1 goaltender. That's fine, we'll play that role", Smith said.

Notes: Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, Derick Brassard and Cody Ceci did not skate Monday after leaving Game 5 early with injuries, but all are expected to play Tuesday night.

"I think we've got to take the positives from it". The result saw the Penguins break through the security guarding the Senators' zone to score five goals from within 13 feet of the net.

Getting to the final for the fourth time in less than 10 years (he's 2-1 so far following appearances in 2008, 2009 and 2016) 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.

As Boucher noted, players such as Viktor Stalberg, Chris Kelly and even the injured Alex Burrows have offered the team some much-needed perspective on what they can expect on Wednesday night.

  • Julie Sanders