The Capitals and Penguins have met three times before in Game 7s, twice in the Ovechkin era, with the Penguins winning all three times. Washington systematically dismantled the defending Stanley Cup champions, who looked listless as they struggled to generate any kind of sustained pressure.
After the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby was never checked for symptoms of a concussion.
"[The league has] a poorly written policy that should be amended before the puck is dropped in another NHL game", Nowinski said.
"I think we regroup", says Caps right wing T.J. Oshie, of the team's mindset heading into Game 7. The Capitals then emphatically let their play back that up.
TURRIS TIME: Ottawa Senators Game 5 star Kyle Turris became the seventh player in National Hockey League history to score three overtime winners in his first 40 Stanley Cup playoff games.
And then they came across their old nemesis again, the Penguins. They're not just comfortable but able to take a lead - and build on it. We talk about win first game and then going to Pittsburgh and win another game. Washington scored in every period, scored twice on the power play, was flawless on the penalty kill, and needed just 26 shots on goal to score five times.
Remember what the Capitals' game looked like? "I think we can do a better job in front of him".
In other words, because Crosby's head didn't hit the ice or another player, concussion spotters weren't allowed to pull him from the game to examine him. They willed in a goal in the second on the individual, playoff-defining effort of Andre Burakovsky, suddenly reborn.
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What a role reversal.
Nicklas Backstrom is leading the Capitals with six goals and 13 points, but it has been the depth players doing the most damage lately. But consider the intricacies of this series, the factors that set up Game 7. "Now we have to focus on the second game". Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was given a torrid time, blocking 21 of 26 shots. "We're having fun now", said Capitals coach Barry Trotz, whose club trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in the series. Obviously, if the Caps can't even things up in this game, it's over for the team once favored to win the whole tournament. Oshie, who opened the scoring with a first-period power-play goal.
"You have to work your way through it", Carlson said.
None of this guarantees anything about Wednesday night, of course.
CROSBY BACK: Sidney Crosby played 19:10, the most among Penguins forwards, and had an assist in hisreturn to the lineup five days after being concussed. Against the Maple Leafs, he allowed 14 goals in the first four games, before giving up just two goals in the final two. Pittsburgh has also won 60 of its last 79 home games.
"Our group has pretty good resolve and we've grown through our past", Trotz said. Few thought that the Washington Capitals would go down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best-of-seven series and probably even fewer thought that they would come back after facing early elimination.
We've long since traveled through that phase, and painfully. Indeed, it determined who won the Stanley Cup.
Here's the most interesting part of this story, though.
There were just three players with a positive Corsi differential, according to http://naturalstattrick.com. He lay on the ice for a moment before collecting himself and skating off.