For the third time in modern day history, the Ottawa Senators are off to the Eastern Conference Finals. After finishing off the New York Rangers in six games, the Senators' opponent for round three was revealed as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 2-0 in the final game of round two.
This is the fifth time in NHL history the Senators and Penguins will meet in the playoffs.
But before the team hits the ice in Pittsburgh for Game 1, let's take a look at how the Senators made their way past the Rangers with time to spare in the second round.
Team Play - Overtime, Comebacks
The argument could be made that, although only two rounds have been concluded, the past month of playoff hockey in the nation's capital has been one of the most exciting postseasons the city has ever witnessed. There's nothing more exhilarating than a next-goal-wins scenario.
With a whopping eight periods and a total of 73 minutes and 53 seconds, the Senators have played the most overtime of any team in the playoffs. What's more, they also boast the most wins and the best record in extra time.
With the team four games above a .500 winning percentage in overtime, fans have been treated to some exciting, special moments. Dion Phaneuf, Bobby Ryan, Clarke MacArthur, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Turris have all ended games past the third period this postseason.
What's also contributed to the numerous thrilling games we've witnessed during the past several weeks is the Senators' ability to play from behind. Overall, Ottawa has the best record in the league when their opponent scores the first goal of the game. With a 71.4 winning percentage when trailing first, the team has given fans reason to believe no matter what the score is early or late in the game.
This persistent play when down a goal was overwhelmingly consistent against the Rangers. The Senators were able to battle back and erase five different in-game leads during the series, and also overcame allowing the first goal in five of the six games. Now that is resiliency.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Goals
Pageau had Sens fans thinking the team was actually playing the Montreal Canadiens in the second round with his offensive outburst in Game 2 against the Rangers. His four-goal explosion was only the third time a player had scored four goals in a playoff game in the last 20 years. Johan Franzen did it with the Detroit Red Wings in 2010 and Joffrey Lupul did it with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2006.
The 24-year-old's six goals in round two shot him up the standings in a handful of categories. Of players advancing to the third round, Pageau's goals per 60 minutes rating of 2.02 has him only behind Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel. With seven tallies in 12 games this postseason, Pageau is in a tie for third in NHL goal scoring.
Erik Karlsson - Offence, Time on Ice, Possession
Another round completed, another handful of reasons why Erik Karlsson is the front runner for the Conn Smythe as league MVP in the playoffs.
We'll start off with the stats that, nowadays, the hockey world seemingly just assumes Karlsson leads at all times. With two goals and 11 assists in 12 games, the Senators captain leads all defencemen in postseason scoring.
Every accomplishment is more impressive when it's widely known a player is dealing with a noteworthy injury, but the fact that Karlsson continues to play a tonne of minutes every game with two hairline fractures in his foot is verging on superhuman.
After the 26-year-old led the league in time on ice per game in the first round with an average of 30 minutes and 23 seconds every night, he was second to only Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh in round two. Karlsson's average of 27 minutes and 29 seconds every game in the second round, as usual, was key to Ottawa's success. It's hard to beat a team four times in a best-of-seven if they have Erik Karlsson on the ice for nearly half the game.
Possession-wise, Karlsson had another dominant series. His plus-28 Corsi rating at five-on-five was tops on the team for the second round in a row.
Clarke MacArthur - Assists, Possession
Maybe the most inspiring story of these playoffs has been that of MacArthur's resurgence back into the Senators' lineup. Not only has the 32-year-old looked comfortable taking on consistent top-six minutes, but he's been an impact player in both series thus far.
MacArthur's four assists in the final two games against the Rangers significantly contributed to the Senators closing out the second round in six, but his possession numbers dictated that he was efficient all series long.
MacArthur's plus-26 even strength Corsi rating was tops amongst Senators skaters in the second round. Looking at the bigger picture, no other regular in the lineup has been on the ice for fewer even strength goals against than MacArthur's two.
After missing 156 consecutive games with concussion problems, MacArthur has played like he missed none at all.