OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators came within one goal of advancing to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2007.
The Senators were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on forward Chris Kunitz's second goal of the game.
Ottawa overcame adversity, including goaltender Craig Anderson taking a two-month leave of absence in December and January to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. The Senators also lost veteran forward Clarke MacArthur for all but the final four games of the regular season and playoffs after he sustained a concussion in training camp.
[RELATED: Senators focus on positives after Game 7 loss | Complete Penguins-Senators coverage]
Under rookie general manager Pierre Dorion and new coach Guy Boucher, the Senators finished second in the Atlantic Division and defeated the Boston Bruins in the first round and the New York Rangers in the second round, each in six games, but were unable to get past the Penguins.
"We're right there, but it feels miles away right now when you watch that one cross the line and go in the back of the net," Senators forward Bobby Ryan said of Kunitz' goal. "I'm just extremely proud of the guys. We were in every game. Despite the naysayers, critics, everything like that, we just continued to be resilient and hang in."
Here are 5 reasons the Senators were eliminated:
1. NO CONTAINING SIDNEY CROSBY
Ottawa wasn't the first team who couldn't reduce the impact of the Penguins center in a series. After not having a point in the first two games in Pittsburgh, Crosby scored goals in Games 3, 4 and 5 and finished the last five games of the series with three goals and three assists, including an assist on the winning goal in Game 7.
Video: OTT@PIT, Gm5: Crosby tips in Daley's shot for PPG
2. NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS
The Senators were outscored 6-1 on special teams in the series. They were 1-for-20 on the power play (five percent) and their penalty kill was 13-for-19 (68.4 percent) against the Penguins, who scored on their only power play in Game 7.
Video: OTT@PIT, Gm7: Schultz rings in wrist shot for PPG
3. NO CHANGING HISTORY
The Senators dropped to 0-6 in Game 7s, including 0-for-5 on the road.
"We made the most of our opportunity here. It just wasn't in the cards," Anderson said. "You can't fault anybody. You can't look at anybody. I think every single guy in this room, [if they] looked at themselves in the mirror, they'd say they gave everything they had and know they didn't have any regrets with the way they prepared, the way they played. There's not many times you can say that. I know we can say that in this room."
4. ICE WAS TILTED
The Senators were outshot 242-197 in the series and spent long stretches defending in their zone. Those long shifts gave the Penguins momentum; Ottawa was outshot 88-59 through Games 6 and 7.
Video: OTT@PIT, Gm7: Boucher on Sens' strength, resiliency
5. ERIK KARLSSON'S HEALTH ISSUES
Karlsson, the Senators defenseman, revealed after the first round he was playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel after blocking a shot in late March. Whether it was the injury, his massive workload (28:07 of ice time per game in the playoffs) or the Penguins hitting him at every opportunity, the Ottawa captain didn't have the same impact in the conference final he did in the first two rounds.
"This was a great experience, something that a lot of us haven't gone through before and it's something we enjoyed," Karlsson said. "When we look back on this and reflect on things, I think we're going to look back saying we did everything we could, we played some great hockey when we needed it most and we lost to a team that was better than us."