The Pittsburgh Penguins spent the better part of five games exploiting the few chances the Washington Capitals gave them, focusing on generating quality scoring chances while the Presidents' Trophy winners seemed more intent on quantity. The Washington Capitals have allowed three or less goals in seven of their last eight games.
Washington's Verizon Center will be rocking on Wednesday with the chance to eliminate its hated rival.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ryan Johansen scored the game-winning goal 3:15 into the third period, and Nashville advanced to its first Western Conference final in franchise history Sunday by beating St. Louis to take the series in six games.
Rangers forward Jesper Fast said: "We have no time to waste right now". "If we can hold onto the puck a little bit more, we should get more shots".
Then there is reality - the Capitals trail the series 3-2 and again will face elimination when the teams meet Monday in Game 6 at PPG Paints Arena. That's not insignificant, but it's nothing next to the TV audience (4.330 million viewers and a 2.38 household rating).
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save during the first period of Game 6 in an NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 8, 2017. Rookie Jake Guentzel picked up his league-leading ninth playoff goal in Game 6. 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.
The NHL released a statement on Tuesday saying that the spotters did not have the authority to pull Crosby because this particular scenario is not included in their guidelines as a "mechanism of injury". Though "HBK" was hardly the only group that had issues.
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Washington star Alex Ovechkin was demoted from the Capitals' first line to its third line before Game 5 in a move coach Barry Trotz said he made to balance the all the lines.
So as you're reading the policy, and it's clear Crosby was "slow to get up", and it takes just one of the signs to require removal from a game, you have to wonder why he kept playing. He didn't miss a shift. That's okay if you're ahead, but it is hard to come back from when trailing especially given Washington's overwhelming shot advantage. One could argue the Capitals have outplayed the Penguins in this series anyway and it's finally starting to show in the scoreboard. Now they're doing neither. But after the last two games, anything is possible.
"The medical staff and [NHL's concussion] spotters are responsible for identifying players that go through the protocol", Sullivan said.
"Mike, were you concerned when you saw Sid sort of slow to get up a couple times in the first, and was he evaluated for a concussion in the first intermission?" a reporter asked Sullivan. They are averaging more than 10 shots per game more than the Penguins.
The Washington Capitals hope to win their third straight game and get over that playoff hump by getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. Those Caps arrived home with all sorts of momentum and anticipation, and they were simply overwhelmed in a 6-2 Penguins victory.
"Any guy that goes into the boards like that, the first thing is the trainer and the doctors, that's how it goes", Crosby said.