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

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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.