After beating the Ottawa Senators in an OT thriller, the Pittsburgh Penguins look to repeat as Stanley Cup champions when they take on a team that is making its first Stanley Cup Final appearance – the Nashville Predators.
USA TODAY Sports
PITTSBURGH — Chris Kunitz is 37. He will be an unrestricted free agent in July. He hadn’t scored a goal in 34 games, counting playoff and regular-season games. He has worn a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey for nine seasons and can’t be sure he will be here for a 10th.
Maybe that made him the perfect person to score the double-overtime goal in the 3-2 Game 7 win against the Ottawa Senators, which gives the Penguins a chance to become the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back championships.
Nothing has ever come easy for hard-working Kunitz during his career, and nothing has come easy for the Penguins in this postseason.
“It’s been a hard — it’s been a really hard playoffs,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I give this group of players so much credit. They find ways to win, and we’re not perfect on some nights by any stretch. But this group of players has a will to win as a group more so than any other group I’ve been around.”
The Penguins have endured numerous injuries, periods of inconsistency and two Game 7s. The march of the Penguins hasn’t been as smooth as last year’s journey to the championship. But in some ways, it’s been more impressive. The Penguins continue to anoint new heroes, explore different paths to success.
“It’s a good feeling to compete the way we did,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who set up Kunitz for the winning goal.
The Senators were the best defensive team and Craig Anderson was the sharpest goalie the Penguins faced in these playoffs. The Penguins had 42 shots in Game 7 and needed every one of them to get rid of the pesky…