Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

The Pittsburgh Penguins have to be better in Game 7

The Pittsburgh Penguins have to be better in Game 7

Whether it was Marc-Andre Fleury stopping Ovechkin on a breakaway in 2009, Jaroslav Halak stopping 41 of 42 shots in 2010, losing by one goal to the New York Rangers in 2012, getting shut out by the Rangers in 2013 or losing in overtime at the Rangers in 2015, Game 7 just hasnt been kind to the Capitals.

Crosby, 29, incurred a concussion in the first period of Game 3 of the Pens' Eastern Conference semifinal against the Washington Capitals after receiving a slash from Alex Ovechkin and a cross check to the head from Matt Niskanen in quick succession.

The NHL's concussion protocols are under fire after Sydney Crosby took a nasty spill into the boards and was not removed from the game for evaluation during the Pittsburgh Penguins' Game 6 loss to the Washington Capitals. "We had to give it all to make sure we could force this Game 7". If they want to have the chance to defend their Stanley Cup championship, they need to get back to what they do best.

"I think we regroup", says Caps right wing T.J. Oshie, of the team's mindset heading into Game 7. "We can wear them down a little bit more there". Let's face it, those shots are more likely to get blocked before they ever reach Fleury than they are to get on net.

The switch also freed up Washington's other skill players to take advantage of less-adept defensemen. It was the second time in the series Ottawa tied the score in the closing minutes at home before winning in the extra period.

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Pittsburgh registered just one shot in the first 17 minutes of Game 6, that one a 136-foot knuckler on a clear by defenseman Brian Dumoulin that just happened to make its way to Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

After the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was asked if he was concerned about the health of his star.

The Capitals led in shots 11-3 by the end of the first. He reunited the "HBK" line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel that worked so well during last spring's Cup run and the trio responded by generating one shot on goal. Though "HBK" was hardly the only group that had issues.

On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain had another scary moment on the ice when crashed head first into the boards during the first period of Game 6 against the Washington Capitals.

The statement is startling to anyone with even a passing knowledge of concussions, which can arise from any impact and get easier to acquire the more frequent they occur - particularly troubling with Crosby, who's had a career marred by concussion after concussion. He didn't miss a shift. I think that's up to you guys to understand all that different stuff.

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Having mounted little attack to start the game, the Ducks looked to have taken a 1-0 lead with 8:18 elapsed in the second period. This round, that player is Johansen, who has already had his fill of the tenacious checker only two games into this 1-1 series.

#2 - The Penguins have a long history of tormenting the Capitals. Now they're doing neither.

“Ive got to believe that (the momentum from Game 6 is) going to roll over, that theyre finally sick and exhausted of hearing that they havent gone to the third round and will break through, ” Boudreau said.

Fine. Crosby said he was checked by a doctor between the first and second periods.

Instead, we got an excuse because of the rulebook. And - and this might be most important - when they sensed proud Pittsburgh was wounded, they tore at the Penguins' festering flesh, spitting on them for good measure.

Rangers confident: Though his team trails its East series 3-2, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said he believes his team's experience gives it an edge against the Senators, whom NY hosts Tuesday in a do-or-die game for the Rangers.

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