ANDERSON SHINES AS SENATORS BOUNCE BACK TO WIN GAME 6 . . .
Craig Anderson made 45 saves -- including 22 in the second period -- and the Ottawa Senators received goals from Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 and force a seventh and deciding game in the Eastern Conference Final.
* Elias notes that Ottawa, which lost 7-0 in Game 5, became the fifth team in the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68) to stave off elimination in the game following a loss when they allowed at least seven goals. The Calgary Flames were the last team to achieve the feat, earning a 5-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the 1990 Division Semifinals after losing the previous contest by a score of 12-4.
* Anderson improved to 5-2 in his Stanley Cup Playoff career when making 45 or more saves and became the first NHL goaltender to stop at least that many shots in regulation with his team facing elimination since he also achieved the feat in Game 5 of the 2015 Eastern Conference First Round at the Montreal Canadiens (5-1 W). The only other Senators goaltender to make 45 or more saves in a playoff game with the team facing elimination is Pascal Leclaire, who made 56 saves in Game 5 of the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals at Pittsburgh -- a 4-3 triple-overtime victory when he set a Senators record for saves in any postseason game.
* Anderson earned his 21st career playoff win with the Senators to tie Patrick Lalime for the most in franchise history.
* Erik Karlsson collected his 14th assist of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 GP) to move within one of the franchise record for most in a single postseason, a mark set by Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza in 2007 (15 in 20 GP).
Video: Senators force Game 7 with 2-1 victory
. . . SETTING UP GAME 7 SHOWDOWN IN PITTSBURGH ON THURSDAY
Ottawa will visit Pittsburgh for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday (8 p.m. ET on CBC, TVAS, NBCSN), marking the 34th time in NHL history that teams will face off in a Game 7 to determine who goes to the Stanley Cup Final.
* The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs mark the fourth consecutive year that at least one Game 7 has been played in the conference finals (1 in 2014, 2 in 2015 and 1 in 2016).
* Game 7 remains the most frequently-occurring series length since the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There have been at least three Game 7s every postseason since 2008, including seven in 2011 and 2014, tied for the most ever in one postseason (also 7 in 1994).
* The Senators will play a Game 7 for the first time since the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals at the New York Rangers (2-1 L) and the sixth time in their history (0-5). Their lone game in the conference finals came in 2003 when they hosted the New Jersey Devils (3-2 L).
* The Penguins are 9-7 in 16 all-time Game 7s, including a win at the Washington Capitals in the second round this year. Only four teams in NHL history have played more Game 7s than the Penguins -- all of whom were part of the Original Six: the Detroit Red Wings (14-11) and Boston Bruins (13-12) each have 25 GP, followed by the Canadiens (14-9) at 23 GP and Toronto Maple Leafs (12-10) at 22 GP.
* The Penguins will play a Game 7 in the conference finals for the second straight year and third time in their history (also 1996: 3-1 L vs. FLA and 2016: 2-1 W vs. TBL). Pittsburgh is the fifth team to compete in a Game 7 of the conference finals in consecutive years since the League adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994. The Dallas Stars defeated the Colorado Avalanche at home in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final in 1999 (4-1 W) and 2000 (3-2 W). The Chicago Blackhawks (2014: 5-4 OT L vs. LAK and 2015: 5-3 W at ANA) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2015: 2-0 W at NYR and 2016: 2-1 L at PIT) also played Game 7 in the conference rinals in consecutive years.
Home Team in Caps
OTTAWA 2, Pittsburgh 1 - series tied 3-3
TREND OF CLOSE GAMES, COMEBACKS CONTINUE
The Senators staged the 32nd comeback victory of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to continue the trend of close games that has highlighted this postseason.
* Ottawa's victory was the 49th one-goal game this postseason (80 GP, 61.3%), two shy of the single-year NHL record established in 2007 (51 in 81 GP, 63.0%). Seven of the 12 total games played in the conference finals have been decided by one goal, with another two decided by two goals following an empty-net score.
he Senators scored a power-play goal for the first time since Game 1 of the second round against the Rangers, ending an 0-for-29 drought with the man advantage . . . Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (1-0-1) leads all skaters with 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 GP) . . . The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Iiro Pakarinen to a one-year contract extension . . . The Vegas Golden Knights announced a television partnership with ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain . . . NHL LiveWire: Click here to listen to the sights and sounds from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final . . .The Senators and Penguins observed a moment of silence prior to Game 6 in honor of the Manchester attack victims.