PITTSBURGH -- It took a couple of overtimes against a relentlessly resilient Ottawa Senators team, but the reigning champs will get their shot at a repeat.
It sets up a Stanley Cup finals in which we'll either see the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winner in the salary-cap era or the first Stanley Cup in the history of the Nashville Predators franchise.
How it happened: The Penguins pressured consistently in the third period and both overtimes, but Senators goalie Craig Anderson was outstanding again until the Kunitz goal. Anderson finished with 39 saves.
A big moment came when the Penguins got a third-period power play on a soft call on Dion Phaneuf, who was called for interference on Phil Kessel. The two former teammates had been going at it all series, and Kessel ended up getting the better of his good friend in this case.
Just 25 seconds into the power play, Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz beat Anderson in large part because of a nice screen from Kunitz, who played his best game of the series. Game 7 was the first game for Schultz since he was injured early on in Game 2.
Rapid-fire offense: Kunitz also opened the scoring in the second period, scoring his first goal of the playoffs on a nice pass from Conor Sheary. With the building rocking and the fans eager to build off it, the Senators struck right back. Mark Stone scored his fifth goal of the playoffs just 20 seconds later, stunning the crowd and immediately eliminating any edge an early lead would have given the Penguins. The Senators would strike quickly again after the Penguins took a brief lead in the third. The Kunitz goal was his first playoff goal since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2016 against the Lightning. According to Elias, the 20 seconds between goals was the fastest in a Game 7 since Jeff Carter and Patrick Sharp scored in the classic 2014 Western Conference finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.
What's next: The well-rested Predators will face the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals at 8 p.m. ET on Monday in Pittsburgh.