Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals in National Hockey League playoffs Game 7

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It has been quite a ride for the Washington Capitals.

It also came exactly a week after Crosby sustained a concussion in Game 3. The Capitals were the best team in the National Hockey League during the regular season but were down 3-1 in their series against the defending Stanley Cup champions. There will be, over those two days, comparisons to 2009, when Washington similarly won the sixth game in Pittsburgh to earn a trip back home – that one on David Steckel’s overtime goal at the old Igloo.

However, when Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was asked if he was concerned during the game and if Crosby had been evaluated, he simply answered “No” to both questions.

The relatively good news is that the Penguins got out of the game with the franchise intact. The impact might not have been on Monday’s game, which the Capitals won easily.

Crosby crashed headfirst into the boards in the first period of Monday night’s Game 6 loss to the Capitals. Andre Burakovsky has been the star of the show, notching three goals over the past two games.

Somewhat lost in the Conn Smythe Trophy conversation is just how well Evgeni Malkin – a playoff MVP in the past – has played during this post-season.

“They think they can win Game 7”. Let’s face it, those shots are more likely to get blocked before they ever reach Fleury than they are to get on net.

“We have to be pretty mature about this, though. They’re going to bring it”. Intent on not repeating history yet again, the Capitals jumped on the defending Stanley Cup champions early and didn’t relent until the things were well in hand and a once raucous arena was largely empty. We’ll regroup. We’re going to enjoy this. The various changes Barry Trotz made to the forward lines and defensive pairings were successful and Braden Holtby played a great game. In Game 5, Kuznetsov scored on an angle straight from the goal line.

“I’ll never bet against Sidney Crosby”, Fitzgerald said. It’s over now and we’ll work on ways to adjust even better next game. You’re trying to climb back in the game, you start taking chances and you don’t play the same way.

“I don’t know if there is any hump to get over”, Trotz said of Game 7. “If we keep just pounding pucks. he’s going to get exhausted”.

Pittsburgh had a couple of scary moments in the first. Over the past four periods, they’ve outscored the Penguins 7-2.

On the same power play, Patric Hornqvist got a bloody mouth from a stick on a shot attempt.

The NHL’s “Concussion Evaluation and Management Protocol” is a seven-page document issued before this season that provides requirements for each club pertaining to each player.

Washington took a 2-0 lead at 6:36 of the second. With experience, you can see things evolving a little quicker, you can focus on the right things, you can play with confidence because you’ve been through it before.

The Capitals certainly did not sit on their lead. But as far as being checked by a doctor, yes, absolutely.

But now that they have, we finally have ourselves a series. “It comes down to one game, and finding a way to execute when it means the most”.

Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Burakovsky all struck in quick succession to fire Washington into a commanding 5-0 lead in the third period to all but guarantee victory. He was replaced in the lineup by D Chad Ruhwedel, who made his National Hockey League playoff debut. They have been ousted from the playoffs in eight of the nine times they’ve faced the Penguins.

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