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2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators Game 7 Preview, Time, How to Watch, Open Game Thread

The Eastern Conference Final will end tonight, one way or the other. Who will advance to play the Predators for all the marbles?

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators - Game Six

Three Things to Track for tonight’s Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app):

  1. Something You Wouldn’t Expect: In the past six attempts, the Penguins are 0-6 in closing out Game 7s at home when losing Game 6. However, they finished off the Capitals in Game 7 on the road last series after losing Game 6. Not only that, the Senators are 0-5 all time in Game 7s themselves, and this year’s Ottawa squad ended both their prior series in six games. Just four Senators - Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Zack Smith and Kyle Turris - were even on the team the last time the Sens played a Game 7, five years ago. Someone’s streak will end tonight and turn the tide.
  2. Look at It Both Ways: On the one hand, Craig Anderson made 45 saves and allowed only one hard-fought goal in his return from a first-period beatdown. That shows he’s able to rebound and continually fight off pucks. On the other, Craig Anderson was forced to make 45 saves, led by a 23-shot second period by the Penguins. Pittsburgh was constantly putting pressure on net, and Anderson made some great saves along the way to keep it a one-goal game. How you saw it may affect how you see tonight’s game coming in — Anderson’s either back, or he’s in trouble if Ottawa doesn't step up it's defense.
  3. Karlsson’s Poise: Game 7 doesn’t always mean the strongest leaders show up on the scoreboard, but it usually hinges on how well the team’s leaders and top performers do around the ice. 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. He’s a two-time Norris winner and three-time All Star, but he’s never seen a Stanley Cup Final. Puck possession and movement by Karlsson will be a major factor for the Senators’ road offense, who were shut out (and blown out) the last time they traveled to Pittsburgh.