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Pens Points: ECF Game 7

Let's play our best hockey of the season.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning one and all,

The Pens are back in Pittsburgh, where they will play the Lightning for the 10th time this season, this time for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. It's quite a turnaround if you go back and think of that dud of a 4-0 loss in New Jersey when things looked very bleak. [PPG]

This is kind of funny to imagine, because he's only 28, but a third of the Pens roster was in high school idolizing Sidney Crosby when he was in his first two Cup finals, and now they are teammates trying to get back there together. [Trib]

It's also funny to sort through 500 articles saying Crosby consistently underdelivers when it matters (after game 5), and now 500 glorifying ones (after game 6). The truth is, only Mike Bossy has more than Sid's 3 GWGs in a single postseason series. [PPG]

Phil Kessel now has 22 goals and 39 points in 39 career playoff games, nearly half of which have come this post-season. He also leads the playoffs with 68 shots on goal. [Sports Quotient]

After a 7-week hiatus, the status of Steven Stamkos is still uncertain for game 7. Will he play or won't he play? Who knows, and there are pros and cons to both scenarios. [Trib]

The Lighning need a steadying force, and given that it seems Ben Bishop won't be riding to the rescue, it will have to continue to be Andrei Vasilevskiy. He's done well for them in a much bigger role than they anticipated. [Today's Slapshot]

After many years of ups and downs and frequent heartbreaks, the San Jose Sharks are finally going to the Stanleu Cup Finals. [ESPN]

On the other hand, the Blues banner season ends on a flat minor note (pun intended, but not with malice). It was a good season for them. [STL Today]

He started off as the hottest player in the postseason, but Vladimir Tarasenko was completely shut down by Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the conference finals, until the very end, when it didn't matter any more. [San Jose Mercury News]

Blues captain David Backes faces a familiar feeling of coming up empty yet again, on top of an uncertain future with the team. []

Some trade news: the Panthers have sent Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver for Jared McCann and 2nd and 4th round draft picks in 2016. [AP]

Pavel Datsyuk's agent acknowledged that they received an offer from SKA St. Petersburg, but so far there has been no final decision. [Detroit Free Press]

For the end, some laughs as Jimmy Fallon roasted the conference finalist teams (mostly the Lightning and Sharks though), but Matt Murray makes an appearance too. I need to laugh, because I'm not sure if my heart or my liver will give out first tonight. [YouTube]