Stanley Cup playoffs: Senators force game seven against Penguins
There will be a game seven to decide the NHL Eastern Conference finals after the Ottawa Senators stopped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.
Facing elimination for the first time this postseason, Craig Anderson and the Senators weathered a relentless Penguins attack that piled up seven goals two days earlier and emerged victorious on Tuesday, pushing their roller-coaster series to an all-decisive final game.
Anderson faced 46 shots and stopped 45 of them.
Pittsburgh's lone goal came early in the second period, moments after a controversial coach's challenge negated another.
Evgeni Malkin's seventh goal and NHL-leading 24th point of the playoffs put reigning Stanley Cup champions the Penguins ahead 1-0.
That lead held until Bobby Ryan scored on a five-on-three power play with 6:45 remaining in the middle frame, ending a brutal 0-for-29 drought with the man advantage that had hung over the Sens' heads like a dark cloud the last two series. Pittsburgh were winning the shot battle 34-19.
It was not long into the third period before Mike Hoffman gave Ottawa their first lead since game four.
Hoffman gathered the puck near the blue line, skated into the high circle and uncorked an absolute beauty of a shot that caromed off the far-side post and into the net.
A screened Penguins goalie Matt Murray had no chance.
Pittsburgh applied plenty of pressure as the third period progressed, but Anderson was an immovable force in net. A penalty with 4:05 to play all but extinguished the Penguins' hopes of forcing overtime, coughing up a chance to reach the Stanley Cup Final for a fourth time in 10 years. At least for now.
The series shifts back to PPG Paints Arena for game seven on Thursday.
Erik Karlsson, Senators - With an assist on Hoffman's winner, Karlsson has 16 points in these playoffs, tying Marian Hossa (2003) for fourth on the Senators' all-time list for most points in one playoff year. Ottawa are 10-2 when Karlsson records a point this postseason.
Mike Hoffman, Senators - Hoffman now has six goals in the playoffs, tied with Bobby Ryan for second on the Sens.
Craig Anderson, Senators - One game after giving up four goals on 14 shots, Anderson turned aside 45 of a whopping 46 to force a series decider. He also pulled even with Patrick Lalime for most playoff wins (21) in franchise history.