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Sens @ Penguins - Game #7 Preview

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line tonight in Pittsburgh as the Sens and Penguins get set to battle in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Historically, the Sens have struggled in Game 7s. So much so that the modern franchise has never actually won one posting an 0-5 life-time record in Game 7s (including 0-4 on the road).

The good news? History has meant squat for the Sens in this post-season and this feels like another opportunity to buck a trend. Sens head coach Guy Boucher shared a similar outlook yesterday.

"For me, it's about not looking at the past," said Boucher speaking to the media before traveling to Pittsburgh. "I can draw back on many, many Game 7s that I've been in and we won and it was unbelievable and also in Game 7s where you lose."

"The reality is it's May 25th, 2017, with our team, our players and that's a new opportunity in my life. That's the way I see it."

And the Sens have acquired a lot of playoff experience over the past 12 months to draw from and Boucher took an opportunity to tap into that during a player's meeting a few days ago.

"The other day in the room we had Burrows talk even though he's injured and we had Kelly talk. Guys who have lived Game 7s, guys who have been to the Stanley Cup Finals...Stalberg has been there twice and he's won it once," Boucher recounted. "The thing that comes out of those guys is there's a lot of poise and there's a lot of calm in the way they see it."

No injury updates going into tonight's game but I wouldn't expect much in the way of line-up changes for Game 7. Colin White made his NHL playoff debut on Tuesday in Ottawa but his minutes and match-ups were carefully monitored so it's possible that Boucher might turn to some of his more experienced forwards like Chris Kelly or Tommy Wingels who could also help the Sens on the penalty kill or in the face-off circle.

Video: May 24: Guy Boucher - Off-day Media

 

Previous game

It was a must win on Tuesday night for the Sens and they did exactly that in Game 6. After falling behind 1-0 midway through the second period, goals from Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman propelled the Sens to a crucial victory in an elimination game on home ice. Ryan's second period tally busted the Senators out of a massive power play slump that dated back to Game 1 of the second round against the Rangers while Hoffman turned in his best game of the series compiling 5 hits to go along with the game-winning goal. Craig Anderson took it from there turning aside 45 of the 46 shots he faced and for the fourth time in six games surrendered just one goal against.

We've got the full highlights from Game 6 below...

Video: Senators force Game 7 with 2-1 victory

 

Sens to watch

It was mentioned above but Bobby Ryan lit the lamp again in Game 6 bring his Eastern Conference Final series total to 6 points (2G + 4A) in 6 games played. To put Ryan's post-season turnaround in perspective, he struggled down the stretch during the regular season and managed just 4 points in his final 20 games. He currently leads all Sens forwards in points (15), assists (9), power play goals (3), game-winning goals (3) and overtime goals (2) during the playoffs.

Video: PIT@OTT, Gm6: Ryan sweeps in one-timer for PPG

 

Broadcast

It's an 8 p.m. start time tonight in Pittsburgh and you can catch the game on CBC and TVAS. Need a spot to watch the biggest game of the year? Well there's always a seat for you at one of our many official Sens Army Headquarters for the playoffs and you can find them all here.

 

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