Last night, the defending champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, defeated the Ottawa Senators in a thrilling 3-2 victory in double overtime to extinguish Canada's Stanley Cup dreams. The game marked only the 4th in NHL history that a game seven had gone to double overtime with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line. It was also the 27th overtime game of these playoffs, one short of tying the record from the 1993 playoffs.

Now they will face a team that no one expected to have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, the underdog Nashville Predators.

Pittsburgh is back again

With their victory last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins became the 5th team in the Expansion Era (1967) to advance to a Stanley Cup Finals after winning a game seven in overtime.

The last three teams to do so all went on to win the cup. This finals appearance is not surprising as Pittsburgh was the second best team in the NHL this season with 111 points.

First, the Penguins defeated their newest rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-1. Then they took down their rivals and the best team in hockey this season, the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in a hard fought series. Finally, they finished the Ottawa Senators in a tough 4-3 series victory. This is the team's sixth Stanley Cup Finals appearance, as they go for their 5th championship.

How did Nashville get here?

Entering the 2017 playoffs, the Nashville Predators have only won three playoff series in franchise history. Now they have won three playoff series to advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals.

Nashville started the playoffs by producing a stunning sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, the best team in the Western Conference.

They then took down the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Then they finished off the third-best team in the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2. Nashville was the worst team to qualify for the 2017 playoffs, with only 94 points and 41 wins.

However, they have now become the third eighth seed since 2006 to make the finals.

Historical facts behind 2017's Stanley Cup Finals

This will be the first Stanley Cup Finals in NHL history where both head coaches are American. It will also be the first time the finals will be played without a Canadian head coach.

Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette is only the fourth coach in NHL history to take three different teams to the finals. He previously did so with the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes and the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers. If the Pittsburgh Penguins win, they will be the first team since the 1997-98 Red Wings to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

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