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

Sidney Crosby set up Chris Kunitz for the double overtime victor and his second goal of the night as the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Sens season 3-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final.

After six spectacular matchups, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators have come down to the final showdown for the Eastern Conference's representation in the Stanley Cup Final. It's also not unreasonable to say that it could be one of the most defining games in franchise history.

No team has reached the Cup final in consecutive years since the Penguins (also led by Crosby) and Red Wings in 2008 and '09, but even more alluring for Crosby's Penguins is the chance to become the first repeat Cup victor in the salary cap era. Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) scores a goal against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley (6) and goalie Matt Murray (30) during the second period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanle. "And we're not ideal some nights by any stretch, but this group of players has a will to win as a group more so than any other group I've been around". The Swede has four goals and seven points in 13 games this post-season.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins kept getting by even as their star players kept skating off the ice in pain. He also wanted to make sure his teammates remained poised as the pressure rose.

"We have worked a lot on character education and reasons why people cheer for different teams and we've talked about why some of the kids cheer for Ottawa and how I cheer for Pittsburgh because that's where my dad works and that's okay", Martin said. "We had a tremendous amount of belief in ourselves that we deserved every game that we got to play this late into May".

"It is a great opportunity", said Crosby of heading back to the finals.

Pittsburgh has been almost unflappable in the face of adversity under Mike Sullivan, and is now 13-2 in playoff games following a loss over the last two springs.

Kunitz one-timed a pass from Conor Sheary in tight to make it 1-0 at 9:55 of the second period as the winger scored a first goal in his last 22 playoff games. At the time, Ottawa was coming off a 7-0 thrashing in Game 5 and was facing elimination for the first time in the playoffs. The Penguins improved to 10-7 in Game 7s. It marked just the fourth time in National Hockey League history that a Game 7 had gone multiple overtimes with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

PITTSBURGH — Chris Kunitz spent a portion of the spring nursing a lower-body injury and wondering if his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins was over. "I just tried to lay it there for him".

Standing just beyond Game 7, potentially, is another Cup and maybe even another Conn Smythe.

"He's one of those guys for us who has shown the ability to be the very best when the stakes are at the highest", he said.

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