Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Karlsson's best act yet has Senators in East Finals

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The Ottawa Senators moved into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday.

Led by dynamic defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Senators reached the Conference Finals for the first time in 10 years with their 4-2 series win.

Karlsson set up the game's first goal and scored the eventual winner in the second period, then limped into the Senators' dressing room after skating a game-high 28 minutes, 44 seconds.

He leads all playoff defensemen with 13 points in 12 games, including a three-assist effort in game five.

Karlsson had missed two games toward the end of the regular season with foot fractures but returned to help Ottawa clinch a playoff berth.

Three stars

Mark Stone, Senators - Stone flies under the radar as an offensive difference maker but scored his third goal of the series and fourth in the playoffs and added an assist in the win. Stone missed time with a concussion in the regular season but he is healthy and has been perhaps the Sens' most important forward.

Craig Anderson, Senators - All the credit to Anderson, who put his series struggles aside and stopped 37 of 39 Rangers shots in a big-time clinching performance. It is the 18th playoff win of Anderson's career, tying Ray Emery for second in franchise history.

Erik Karlsson, Senators - Karlsson is the first defenseman in Senators history to score multiple game-winning goals in a single postseason. 

Highlight

The Sens held a lead just 13:10 through the first five games of the series. Mike Hoffman's deflection 4:27 into game six meant things would be different this time.

Wednesday's games to watch

Game sevens galore! A pair of wacky series rightly will be decided in winners-take-all fashion. First the Penguins and Capitals in the nation's capital, then the Oilers and Ducks in Anaheim. Neither home team is known for having a great recent track record in game sevens, so the notion that anything can and probably will happen is alive and well.