Penguins beat Senators to reach Stanley Cup Final

The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are returning to the Stanley Cup Final after a 3-2 double overtime Game 7 victory over the Ottawa Senators Thursday night.

The loss dropped the Senators to 0-6 in franchise history in Game 7s.

With the home victory, Pittsburgh won its second straight Eastern Conference championship and will now seek to add another Stanley Cup title after winning the fourth in franchise history last season.

Opposing the Penguins will be the Nashville Predators, who, unlike their opponents, are making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. Nashville wrapped up the Western Conference championship in six games Monday night by beating the Anaheim Ducks 6-3.

For the second straight year, the Stanley Cup Final will feature a team making their Finals debut. The San Jose Sharks made their debut last year, losing to the Penguins in six games.

Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will be played at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena on Monday and Wednesday, followed by Games 3 and 4 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on June 3 and 5. If needed, the series would then alternate between Pittsburgh and Nashville for the final three games of the best-of-seven series on June 8, 11 and 14.

Chris Kunitz scored his second goal of the game at 5:09 of the second overtime and Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray, playing on his 23rd birthday, stopped 27 of 29 Senators shots.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who stopped 45 of 46 shots in Game 6, made 39 saves Thursday.

The game was nearly halfway through regulation before the Penguins scored the first goal off a two-on-one against Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson. Kunitz one-timed a pass from Conor Sheary in tight to make it 1-0 at 9:55 of the second period. It was Kunitz’s first goal in his past 22 playoff games.

Just 20 seconds, Mark Stone tied it for the Senators, taking a short pass ahead from Karlsson and, from the lower part of the right circle, lifting the puck over Murray’s glove.

Justin Schultz scored on a blast from the center point at 11:44 of the third on Pittsburgh’s first power play of the game for a short-lived 2-1 Penguins lead.

At 14:41 of the third, Ryan Dzingel lifted the Senators into a 2-2 tie when he scored on a rebound of a Karlsson shot.