Pittsburgh at Ottawa
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Sidney Crosby was on the ice the last time a defending champion returned to the Stanley Cup final, with his Pittsburgh Penguins upending Detroit in seven games for the third of the franchise's four titles. Crosby looks to once again punch his team's ticket to the NHL's showcase event on Tuesday when the visiting Penguins bid to close out the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final.
"We've been really good at just focusing on the game at hand regardless of the situation, good or bad," Crosby told reporters on the heels of scoring in his third straight contest in Sunday's 7-0 shellacking to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 edge in the series. "We've had a lot of different things happen throughout the year where we've just had to focus on that next game and that will have to be the same approach here heading into Game 6." While Crosby played it close to the vest with his comments, Ottawa coach Guy Boucher raised a few eyebrows and many sarcastic quips over social media after essentially "crowning" the Penguins after the barrage. "We know they're a better team. Everybody knows that on the planet," said Boucher, who has grown comfortable playing the underdog card in these playoffs. TV:
8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVASABOUT THE PENGUINS:
Evgeni Malkin (NHL-best 17 assists, 23 points) notched three assists to push his career playoff total to 98, moving him past team owner Mario Lemieux (96) for second on the franchise's all-time list. While much is expected of superstars Malkin, Crosby and Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh's third line of Bryan Rust (goal, assist), Nick Bonino (two assists) and Carter Rowney (three assists) combined for seven points in Game 5 with Rust showing - pardon the pun - no rust after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. Matt Murray, who recorded his second career postseason shutout following a 25-save performance, has turned aside 68 of 71 shots since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury and owns a 17-6 record in 24 playoff appearances.ABOUT THE SENATORS:
Captain Erik Karlsson (team-leading 13 assists, 15 points), who is playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel, is expected to be back in the lineup after receiving a bit of a breather with Sunday's contest well out of hand. "We decided to shorten the bench a bit and come back (fresher) for the next one," Karlsson told reporters, with Boucher admitting as much in resting fellow defenseman Cody Ceci and forward Derick Brassard in the final period. Boucher also scoffed at the notion of starting backup Mike Condon over Craig Anderson, who will be back in net after being pulled twice for four goals on 14 shots to spoil his 36th birthday.OVERTIME
1. Ottawa is 0-5 when trailing a best-of-seven series by a 3-2 margin, and it has only forced a Game 7 on two occasions.
2. Pittsburgh D Olli Maatta opened the scoring for the second consecutive contest on Sunday to increase his point total to seven (two goals, five assists), matching his sum from the regular season in 38 fewer games played.
3. The Senators yielded seven goals to the Penguins in a lopsided playoff loss in 2013 and were summarily throttled in the ensuing game (6-2) to be eliminated from that Eastern Conference semifinal series.PREDICTION:
Penguins 4, Senators 1
Stats and Records