FLEURY SHINES AS DEFENDING CHAMPIONS ADVANCE WITH GAME 7 VICTORY
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves and forward Bryan Rust scored the game-winning goal to help the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 and advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the past five seasons.
* The Penguins improved to 9-7 all-time in Game 7s, including a 6-0 road record, the best among all major pro sports franchises. The Penguins also improved to 4-0 in Game 7s against the Capitals, including a 3-0 record in Washington.
* Fleury, who is tied with Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers for first among active goaltenders with 61 NHL playoff wins, got his ninth postseason shutout, his first since Game 3 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Second Round at the Rangers. In six NHL Game 7s, he is 3-3 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and one shutout, including 3-0 mark on the road. He also won Game 7s at the Capitals in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals and at the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.
* Fleury became the 10th NHL goaltender with a Game 7 shutout on the road and first to achieve the feat with the Penguins. Two Penguins goaltenders have posted a Game 7 shutout at home: Frank Pietrangelo made 27 saves in the 1991 Patrick Division Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils and Ken Wregget made 33 saves in the 1995 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Capitals.
* Rust, who had his third NHL playoff game-winning goal, has three of four Penguins goals in their past two Game 7s; he scored twice in a 2-1 victory in the 2016 Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has found the score sheet in four of his first six career series-clinching games (7-1-8).
* Rust, whose other playoff winner was the series-clincher in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, became the fourth NHL player to have each of his first three career postseason game-winning goals stand as series-winners, joining Joe Carveth in 1942-43 with the Red Wings, Jean Ratelle in 1974-79 with the Rangers and Boston Bruins (4 GWG) and Al MacAdam in 1980-81 with the Minnesota North Stars, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
* The Penguins will host the Senators for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports). The two teams have met four times previously in the postseason, with the Penguins holding a 3-1 edge in those series. They lost in five games to the Senators in the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, then won in four games in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, in six games in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and in five games in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Video: Pens blank Caps in Game 7, advance to ECF
Home Team in Caps
Pittsburgh 2, WASHINGTON 0 - PIT wins 4-3
ANAHEIM 2, Edmonton 1 - ANA wins 4-3
DID YOU KNOW?
The Penguins improved to 9-1 in 10 all-time playoff series against the Capitals, including seven straight series wins dating to the 1995 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, to become the first non-Original Six team with at least nine series wins against one opponent.
DUCKS RALLY PAST OILERS TO REACH CONFERENCE FINALS FOR FIFTH TIME
Forward Andrew Cogliano tied the game in the second period and forward Nick Ritchie scored the go-ahead goal at 3:21 of the third period to help the Anaheim Ducks defeat the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 to reach the Western Conference Final for the second time in three years and fifth time in franchise history (also 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2015).
* The Ducks, who hosted a Game 7 for the fifth consecutive year, snapped a four-game losing streak in winner-take-all games at home, as well as a five-game losing streak in Game 7s overall (3-6).
* Anaheim also erased a 2-0 series deficit for the first time, becoming the 49th team in NHL history to achieve the feat (49-311, 13.6 percent).
* Anaheim's victory means a California-based team will play in the Western Conference Final for the eighth consecutive year and 12th time in the past 14 years.
* John Gibson made 23 saves for his first Game 7 victory in his second attempt. Anaheim has allowed one goal-against in its three all-time Game 7 victories, following 3-0 shutouts in the 1997 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes and in the 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Calgary Flames.
* The Ducks overcame a deficit of at least one goal to win for the fifth time this postseason. Overall, 27 of 68 games during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (39.7 percent) have seen the winning team overcome a deficit of at least one goal.
* Additionally, 16 of 26 games in the second round of the postseason (61.5 percent) featured a game-winning goal scored in either the third period (11) or overtime (five).
* The Ducks will host the Nashville Predators for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Predators defeated the Ducks in seven games in the 2016 Western Conference First Round and also in six games in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Video: Ducks down Oilers in Game 7, move on to WCF
NHL ANNOUNCES CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE
The NHL announced the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the conference finals, which begin in Anaheim on Friday.
Penguins forward Matt Cullen improved to 6-0 in six career Game 7s, while Capitals forward Justin Williams lost his first Game 7 (7-1). … Penguins captain Sidney Crosby extended his franchise record with his 98th playoff assist. He has four points (two goals, two assists) in six NHL Game 7s. … Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had the primary assist on the opening goal to establish a Penguins record for points in a single postseason by a rookie with 14 (nine goals, five assists) in 12 games, breaking a mark set in 1991 by Jaromir Jagr, who had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 24 games. … There have been 45 Game 7s since the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most frequently-occurring series length in that span. … Predators defenseman P.K. Subban was fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment).