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Playoff Buzz: Penguins can reach Final by defeating Senators in Game 6

Defending Stanley Cup champions can advance with victory at Ottawa

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impactin¬¬¬g the 2016-17 postseason. Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators is Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). NHL.com writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you the latest news. Here is the playoff news for Tuesday:

 
3:30 p.m.
Karlsson appears ready for Game 6

Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson may be dealing with an injury, but he's expected to play in Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

He has struggled in the past two games, particularly to help Ottawa generate offensive chances, but there might be a good reason for that other than his injury. Senior writer Dan Rosen wrote about Karlsson after Ottawa's optional morning skate.

The good news for the Penguins is it doesn't appear anybody was injured between the end of Game 5 and the end of their optional morning skate Tuesday. That's a relief because it seems like they've been bit by the injury bug almost daily this postseason. However, the bad news is they won't get any players back for Game 6 either. Staff writer Tom Gulitti has the latest news update from the Penguins side.

Senators rookie Colin White has played in two NHL games and none in the playoffs, but coach Guy Boucher said Ottawa's 20-year-old center could play in Game 6, a must-win game for the Senators. Boucher wouldn't commit to White because he has other options as well. Rosen has the latest on Ottawa's projected lineup for Game 6.

The Penguins have a chance to get back to the Stanley Cup Final and give themselves a chance to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in 19 years. The Senators just want to force Game 7. It's a must-win game for them at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday. Correspondent Chris Stevenson has 5 keys to Game 6.

 

12:30 p.m.
Penguins can return to Cup Final

The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins can return to the Stanley Cup Final by defeating the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Canadian Tire Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Penguins have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series after winning 7-0 on Sunday in Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena.

Though a victory would give the Penguins the chance to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, senior writer Dan Rosen reports that Pittsburgh is not focused on the chance to make history, focusing instead on matching the Senators' intensity.

Former NHL assistant Jim Corsi, who's analyzing the series for NHL.com, said the Senators need to pay strict attention to detail in every aspect of their game to avoid elimination, something they didn't do in Game 5.

Another former NHL assistant, Doug Lidster, tells staff writer Amalie Benjamin that the Penguins must stick with their attacking style of play to keep the momentum going in Game 6.

 

9:30 a.m.
Predators headed to first Final

The Nashville Predators are going to the Stanley Cup Final. Let that sink in for a second.

The Predators, who had the worst record among the 16 teams to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, defeated the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Monday to clinch their first trip to the Cup Final.

The Predators became the third team seeded lowest in its conference to reach the Stanley Cup Final since the NHL adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994, joining the 2006 Edmonton Oilers and 2012 Los Angeles Kings.

The Predators will play Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on May 29 at either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators, who play in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday in Ottawa. The defending champion Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. 

Here is look at what happened on Monday:

 

Nashville Predators 6, Anaheim Ducks 3

Forward Colton Sissons three goals; his third put Nashville ahead 4-3 with 6:00 left in the third period game to help the Predators reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their 19-year history.

The Predators, playing without centers Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher, were outshot 41-18. But they scored twice in the first 8:37 of the game, and, after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period, scored the final three goals -- the last two into an empty net.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 38 saves. Sissons, who scored eight goals during the regular season, has five in the postseason.

NHL.com correspondent Robby Stanley wrote about Sissons' big night.

The victory made for a historic night in Nashville. Here's the story from NHL.com columnist Nick Cotsonika.

The defeat ended what he been a magical run through the playoffs for the Ducks, staff writer Lisa Dillman notes.

Video: Sissons propels Predators to first Stanley Cup Final

 

Here are some things we learned on Day 39 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Nashville's kids growing up fast

The Predators got a big boost from a pair of 23-year-olds. Colton Sissons, who had a hat trick in Game 6, has as many points (10) in the playoffs as he did during the regular season. Pontus Aberg, who had the winning goal in Game 5, followed with two assists in Game 6.

Peter Laviolette has the magic touch

With Nashville's win, Peter Laviolette became the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different franchises to the Stanley Cup Final. He won the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and made the Final with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Laviolette following Preds' series win

Ducks pay price for power failure

Anaheim went 2-for-18 on the power play in the series against the Predators, including 0-for-10 in the final three games. That, perhaps, was the key difference in the series.

Anaheim was off-center

Top-line center Ryan Getzlaf, who essentially carried the Ducks during the first two rounds, had one assist in the final four games against the Predators. No. 2 center Ryan Kesler had one assist against Nashville and scored one goal in 17 playoff games. He was minus-6 in the series, including minus-4 in Game 6.

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