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

While Nashville is the last seed out of the Western Conference and will be playing the Final without top center Ryan Johansen (injured), the Predators have been impressive in series wins over No. 1 West seed Chicago, St. Louis and Pacific Division champion Anaheim. Over and over and over again.

Kunitz ended a 25-game playoff goal drought when he completed a 2-on-1 with Conor Sheary - a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 - by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

"[Sheary] did a really good job bringing it up the wall and walking the blue like, and I think Sid was coming right off the bench", said Kunitz.

In case you were wondering, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby did indeed touch the trophy one again, just as he did past year and when the Penguins won the Cup in 2009.

"I was growing up in the same hometown as Mats Sundin, and he was pretty big in that small town I grew up in", Rakell said of the 13-year National Hockey League center. He made 84 saves in one of the best back-to-back performances by a goaltender in recent Stanley Cup playoff history, one day after saying "whatever it takes" when asked if he could repeat his heroic Game 6 effort.

Ottawa twice rallied in pursuit of a first Stanley Cup final appearance in 10 years, ultimately falling just short against the defending champs while dropping to 0-6 in Game 7s.

On offense, Xander Bogaerts finally got off the home run schneide, hitting his first of the season, a two-run blast in the third, and the Red Sox have now won four in a row as they go for five with the Seatte Mariners in town to begin a series at Fenway tonight. "We just continued to find ways and different guys have stepped up and we trust in that and believed in that whoever has come in the lineup has done a great job".

"He's one of those guys that's able to help us do that and he has been able to, even when he wasn't playing", Boucher said.


Schultz hasn't played since Game 2. Nashville is listed with a money line of +130 to win its first championship.

Malkin also scored Pittsburgh's only goal, which was a dandy. "But they came up one shot better". The Predators aren't nicknamed "Smashville" just for kicks. Karlsson had 16 assists in the playoffs to set a team record.

"It should be some exciting hockey as far as back and forth and fast and physical", Crosby said. "I just tried to lay it there for him".

With a handful of familiar faces on both sides. Pittsburgh, the Predators' soon-to-be opponent, had 14 more goals than the opposition. It's worked out for almost all involved.

Yet it was Subban's arrival in a trade last June that provided Nashville with the grit and leadership it so desperately needed.

The Penguins, by contrast, have been here. "They understand the opportunity to play this deep and compete for the Stanley Cup doesn't come around every year".

"The biggest step is ahead", Crosby said.


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