It needed seven games and two overtimes in the finale, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final with a chance to be the league's first repeat champion in nearly 20 years.
Ultimately, it was the Penguins who came away victorious in a very tight series, so let's look at some reasons why.
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There's really no other way to put it -- the Senators power play unit was awful in this series.
Ottawa went just 1 for 20 on the power play through the seven games, with the one conversion coming via an extended 5-on-3. The Senators offense is far inferior to the Penguins' so they really could have used the extra help on special teams.
On the other side, the Penguins were excellent on the man-advantage. They went 6 for 19 (31 percent) during the series, including a big power play goal in Game 7.
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After missing the entirety of the first two rounds with a groin injury, Murray saw his first action when Marc-Andre Fleury had a rough go of things in Game 3.
There was a lot of debate as to whether Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan should go back to Fleury, who was great through much of the playoffs, or give the net to Murray, the team's starter during the regular season.
Ultimately, it was Murray who spent the rest of the series between the pipes, and he was a game-changer for the Penguins.
In his five games against Ottawa, the 23-year-old netminder stopped 123 of 130 shots and finished with save percentages of .950, .923, 1.000, .933 and .931 -- good for a collective .946.
Just as Fleury was a major reason the Penguins made it to the Conference Final, Murray was a major reason they advanced past it.
For what it's worth, Craig Anderson was also spectacular in net for Ottawa for most of the series. He stopped 206 of 220 for a save percentage of .936 and absolutely stole Game 6 to force the series finale.
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It's easy to see that Mike Sullivan is a coach who knows how to get the best out of his guys, even in the face of adversity.
Not only did he coach the Penguins to a Stanley Cup title after taking over mid-season last year, but now he's led them back to the SCF despite various obstacles along the way. The biggest one has been getting this far without his best defenseman in Kris Letang, who is out for the playoffs, but Sullivan has also had to tweak the lineup with injuries to several other key players (Justin Schultz, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust) in this series.
And then there was that whole goalie controversy.
Sullivan ultimately looks great after handing over the reigns to Murray in net, but that's just the beginning. In the past two postseasons, the Penguins are 12-2 following a loss, which shows that Sullivan knows how to get his guys back on track when things don't go their way.
Another example of that is Conor Sheary, who played on Sidney Crosby's wing through much of this season but struggled in the playoffs. Sullivan demoted Sheary and eventually made him a healthy scratch for Games 5 and 6. When he was inserted back into the lineup for Game 7 he played arguably his best game of the postseason. He recorded an assist and was on the ice for the Pens' winner in double-OT.
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Coming into this series, we knew the Senators weren't the most offensively gifted team. They relied on their defensive scheme and playing smart, frustrating and -- yes, at times -- boring hockey.
But if Ottawa wasn't going to get much out of their power play, they needed more offensive production at five-on-five. They didn't exactly get it.
In six of seven games this series, the Senators scored two goals or less. The lone exception was Game 3, when the Penguins were a horror show defensively and Fleury looked rattled, and the Sens put up a five spot.
Defense and goaltending helped Ottawa squeak out a couple of wins despite being outplayed and outchanced offensively, and that's been their calling card.
But when you're facing a Penguins team that has firepower in guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel -- each finished with 6 points in the series -- you're most likely going to need significant contributions from your own offense to keep up.
Depth was an issue for the Senators on both ends of the ice. The Sens' top-six did what they could -- Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman were two of their better forwards -- but ultimately they didn't get enough production throughout the lineup.
On the blue line, they rode their top pair of Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot as hard as they could (as has been the case for the entirety of the playoffs) but weren't particularly strong behind them. Dion Phaneuf had a rough series, recording 0 points and finishing with a plus/minus of minus-3.
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When a series comes down to a Game 7, it's basically a one-game playoff and an impact player in the finale becomes an impact player in the entire series.
Kunitz was an impact player in Game 7.
The 37-year-old had just one point in six games and had gone 34 games without a goal heading into the series' final contest.
But he emerged as an unexpected hero in that finale when he before scored twice, including the game-winning goal in 2OT. He also added an assist.
Kunitz has been viewed as somewhat of a safety blanket for Crosby over the years, but he's an alternate captain for Pittsburgh and as a three-time Cup-winner, he plays an important role for the team both on and off the ice. They look to him to be a leader and, on Thursday night, he came up huge.