Exactly one year ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals in a one-goal game to advance to the 2016 Eastern Conference Final. Wednesday, the two teams played again with a trip to the Eastern Conference Final on the line. Again, the Penguins won, this time 2–0.
Bryan Rust started the scoring in this year's affair. Jake Guentzel delayed, drifting toward the left side of the net with the puck before dishing it off to Rust in the slot. Rust went top shelf to beat Washington goalie Braden Holtby at 8:49 in the second period.
Patric Hornqvist picked up where Rust left off, giving the Pens a 2–0 lead in the third period. Hornqvist went glove side on Holtby with a back-handed shot at 4:14.
Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury recorded the shutout, stopping 29 shots. It was his first shutout of the 2017 playoffs, and the ninth he's earned all-time during his postseason career.
Guentzel also made history Wednesday night. His second-period assist on Rust's goal gave Guentzel his 14th point this postseason. That's the most a Pittsburgh rookie has scored in a single postseason.
Pittsburgh will play Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Final.
Full recap | Box score | Highlights
Here's a look at the other half of Wednesday night's Stanley Cup Playoffs action.
Ducks 2, Oilers 1 | ANA wins 4–3
On Sunday in Game 6, the Anaheim Ducks gave up seven goals. They went through two goalies. Wednesday night in Game 7, they fell behind early 1–0. But instead of continuing to crumble, the Ducks bounced back. Two unanswered goals gave Anaheim a come-from-behind victory and a berth in the Western Conference Final.
Drake Caggiula accounted for Edmonton's lone goal Wednesday. Coming at 3:31 in the first period, Caggiula stripped an Anaheim defender, and then the puck skittered by netminder John Gibson and across the goal line.
The Ducks tied the game 8:55 into the second period. Andrew Cogliano corralled the loose puck to the side of the net and sent a backhanded shot past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot to make it 1–1. The goal was Cogliano's first of the 2017 postseason.
The game- and series-winning goal belonged to Anaheim's Nick Ritchie. At 3:21 in the second, Ritchie took Sami Vatanen's feed and beat Talbot with a wrist shot to give the Ducks a 2–1 lead.
Gibson stopped 23 of 24 shots faced Wednesday. It was the third time in Anaheim's franchise history that the Ducks gave up no more than one goal in a Game 7 victory.
Anaheim will play the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Final. The winner will then face either the Penguins or Senators for the Stanley Cup.
Full Recap | Box score | Highlights
3. Jake Guentzel (PIT): Guentzel made history in the Penguins' 2–0 Game 7 victory against the Capitals. He recorded an assist in the second period, giving him 14 points in these playoffs—a Penguins postseason record for most points by a rookie.
2. Nick Ritchie (ANA): Ritchie's third-period goal finished off the comeback for the Ducks in their 2–1 Game 7 win over the Oilers.
1. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT): Fleury made 29 saves, including three short-handed opportunities, and recorded a shutout in the Penguins' win.