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Pens Points: The Defense Continues

Pens kickoff Eastern Conference on Saturday against playoff rival Senators. Sullivan garners praise for series victory. Retirement will have wait for Matt Cullen. TV ratings soar for Pens/Caps.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Seven Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Playing a full seven game series means short rest before the next series kicks off. While the Western Conference Final kicks off tonight in Anaheim, the Penguins have another day wait before kicking off the Eastern Conference Final tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena.

Since returning to the playoffs in 2007 the Pens have formed somewhat of a playoff rivalry with the Senators. This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides in the last 11 seasons. That is just one of the many storylines that will dominate the headlines starting tomorrow. [Penguins]

One storyline that will likely be overblown is the “feud” between Sidney Crosby and Mark Methot. If you remember correctly, the last time the teams played one another, Crosby caught Methot with a slash in the finger and caused some gnarly damage. While this may be played up the media, Methot said he is fully focused on the series. [CTV News]

With a 1-0 lead heading into the third period on Wednesday night the Penguins needed to play their best period of hockey all season to hold on and eliminate the Capitals. Not only did they deliver, they brought back memories of last season when they suffocated the life out of teams. [NBC Sports]

The Penguins/Capitals series was the marquee matchup of the second round and maybe the entire playoffs. It was a dream scenario for the NHL and the television numbers for Game 7 showed just how big this series was. [Trib Live]

Going into Game 7, Penguins’ forward Matt Cullen conceded that he could be playing in his final NHL game. Cullen doesn’t seem to mind putting off retirement for a little while longer. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Needing to find an answer after getting run out of their own building in Game 6, head coach Mike Sullivan tweaked the lineup and hit all the right buttons once again to help the Pens continue their Stanley Cup defense. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

One loss coming out of the second round came from the front office. On Thursday, the Buffalo Sabres formerly announced they hired Penguins’ associate general manager Jason Botterill to be their new general manager. [Trib Live]

Regrouping his team after a listless Game 6 loss, Mike Sullivan had his team on the ice the next morning and it paid off with a second straight trip to the Eastern Conference Final. [NBC Sports]

News and notes from around the NHL...

If there is to be NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, it may come down to the players having a one-on-one discussion with their respective owners about their desire to head to South Korea. [CBC]

Since being taken No. 1 overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft it has been a rocky ride for Nail Yakupov thus far in his career. Even with the early struggles, Yakupov still plans on playing in the NHL next season. [NBC Sports]