Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

(AP Photo/Nick Wass, file). Ottawa leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Pittsburgh were on the verge of eliminating their bitter rivals for a third time since 2009, including Nick Bonino's game-six crusher a year ago, but will have to wait two more days to try again.

Crosby was concussed in Game 3 of their second-round series against the Capitals. This is a franchise with five Stanley Cups, so that means something.

So it was Monday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Consider that the shaky goalie was once Washington's Braden Holtby, yanked after two periods of the second game.

Do superstar players get treated differently? Four Capitals remain from '09: captain Alex Ovechkin, centers Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle and defenseman Karl Alzner, along with former Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. "Even in the Toronto series, and then a couple games in this series, mentally we weren't able to stay focused". For them to force Game 7 on Wednesday, they'll need Holtby and the rest of the stars to continue to be the best players on the ice.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle didn't blame Gibson and said it's about the entire team being better.

The best moments were the times they got the puck past Fleury, the 2009 Stanley Cup victor who was Matt Murray's backup on the Penguins' title run a year ago and is only starting because of the 23-year-old's injury. "Now it boils down to one".

"I thought he was solid", Sullivan said. "Early in the series a few breakdowns hurt us and they capitalized on them". "If we don't hold serve, then it's not what we're looking for".

Anyone has the chance to be a hero in Game 7, but Justin Williams' name sure does come up a lot. Trotz doesn't think it'll have anything to do with history. Against the Maple Leafs, he allowed 14 goals in the first four games, before giving up just two goals in the final two. "There (just) wasn't any finish in his game". It would in effect tell the huge pink elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge to go away and never come back.

I think the logic behind these lines is good.

The Capitals are as close as they've been to their first appearance in the conference finals in 19 years after rallying from a 3-1 series deficit by sprinting by Pittsburgh in the third period at home in Game 5 and then delivering a masterful performance 48 hours later in a city that's often been a burial ground for once-promising seasons.

The Capitals have played a smart brand of hockey, completely removing the odd-man rushes the other way.

"Yeah, we had a good game [Monday]". A victory in Game 5 or at home in Game 6 would've ended the series.

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.

Did the National Hockey League err by allowing Crosby to play on?

T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in the first period before Burakovsky grabbed his first of the night in the second period to give the Caps a deserved 2-0 lead at Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins have been without Kris Letang throughout all of the playoffs and they were without Trevor Daley in Game 6.

It seems like all the momentum is firmly on the Capitals side right now.

"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.

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