Why Concussion Spotters Couldn't Pull Sidney Crosby From Game 6 Vs. Capitals

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017

"We need to forget this game".

Well, it might not have followed the exact script.

The Penguins and Capitals will meet in Game 7 Wednesday night.

But now that they have, we finally have ourselves a series.

Guentzel now has a playoff-leading nine goals.

The victor of that series will face the Nashville Predators, who eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues to make their first conference finals appearance in franchise history.

The other key takeaway here is about how important the Penguins-Capitals series is for NBC. It's safe to say those bounces favoured the Caps in Game 6 and ended up behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Capitals controlled play from the start, as they have for most of this series, but instead of the Penguins counterpunching, it never came.

The Alex Ovechkin-led Capitals have been business-like, gritty and determined since falling behind 2-0 in the series. For Washington, it was long overdue. "You have to find ways to get better, play better and move on".

The fact is that they only had 18 shots on goal in the whole game, three in the first period. Heading into Game 7, now would be a good time for Lars Eller and Jay Beagle to pick up their first goal. "It might. But we got a little confidence boost out of the last four periods".

With the Capitals up by two goals through two periods, Backstrom's goal on a two-on-one just 16 seconds into the final frame seemed to seal the result.

This Game 7 has the potential to have that kind of profound effect.

Every article you read regarding the Penguins and their Game 7 fate showcase the Pens in a negative light, and for good reason. In Game 6, it was his physicality that made a difference. At stake is a trip to the Eastern Conference final. 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.

The Chicago Cubs eventually won the World Series. There's no reason why Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom can not do the same. In the losses, Fleury best save percentage came in game 3 when he posted a 90.9 save percentage.

Many among us filled the wait thinking about the worst possible outcomes: What's life like if it's really bad news? "The fun part is the obstacle, and the obstacle is a good team in Pittsburgh". The second line had two of those three players with positive differentials, which makes sense because that line scored the Penguins only two goals. "I believe in this group and we're going to rely on our experience". Well, expecting it, really.

Not listed is a player's head making secondary contact with the boards, which is what happened with Crosby on Monday.

"He's been standing on his head this whole series", said Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky, who scored his first goal of the playoffs Saturday. When the stage is the largest, the Penguins captain has a knack for being unstoppable. Since then, it has been all Washington, perhaps not entirely unexpected given that the Capitals rolled to the Presidents' Trophy during the season.

Monday night Crosby said he was evaluated by team doctors after the first period, but in a postgame press conference, Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby was not evaluated for a concussion. Meanwhile, the Capitals have lost twice as many Game 7s as they've won since Alexander Ovechkin arrived in Washington. The Penguins know what it takes to get through this. In the next two games no Pittsburgh defenseman had more than six minutes against the Capitals' new third line, and Ovechkin's own individual scoring chances went from 1.1 per 60 minutes in Games 1-4 to 7.5 in Games 5 and 6.