Penguins Put Capitals on Brink

Ross Houston
May 5, 2017

During Game 3 against the Washington Capitals, Sidney Crosby took a head shot from defenseman Matt Niskanen right after he took a high slash from Alex Ovechkin. "We're very optimistic and hopeful we'll have him back in a timely fashion". This is the same team that, after Monday's game, wouldn't even disclose if Crosby's injury was to his head or his knee.

Fleury, facing a barrage as he has been in most of Pittsburgh's games this postseason, made 36 saves in a 3-2 win in a pivotal Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal on Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena. He misses the rest of the 2010-11 season and playoffs and the first 20 games of the 2011-12 season with concussion symptoms.

But if there's one player on the roster who can elevate his game to a level that makes up for Crosby's absence, it'll be the man who takes his spot centering the Penguins' top line.

The debate if it was an intentional hit from Niskanen and whether he should have faced additional discipline from the league (the NHL announced he would have no hearing) has raged across the media and fan websites. Crosby was injured in Game 3 on a cross-check by Niskanen. Bet365 Sports is the premier National Hockey League playoff sportsbook and punters should give their live in play bets a try to make lucrative profits tonight.

Crosby lay on the ice for several moments before slowly getting up and skating off, mostly on his own power.

Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary is also dealing with a concussion after colliding with teammate Patric Hornqvist in the second period Monday night. Sheary's status for Game 4 was uncertain.

The Penguins are waiting for news regarding the health of their captain Sidney Crosby, sounded Tuesday by a double failure of Matt Niskanen in the third game of their series against the Capitals. That allowed their opponents to work in the offensive zone at win, but the penalty to Carlson and ensuing power play goal stemmed the tide. They outshot the Senators 15-5 in the first period while building a 2-0 lead.

It would also mark the Capitals' ninth playoff series loss in 10 tries against Pittsburgh and more of the same for a team that hasn't advanced past the second round since the 1997-98 campaign, when it fell in the Stanley Cup Final.

"Now especially, more than ever, I've had to rely on him and talk to him about certain things", McDavid said. The Penguins also stole the Game 1 victory, putting them in flawless position to go up 3-0 tonight with the series in Pittsburgh. "It's a day-to-day process", Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters.

Afterward, Capitals coach Barry Trotz lamented his star players didn't do enough but credited Fleury for another fine performance. Hockey players are emotional guys.

After an extra day off between games, the teams return to Verizon Center, where the Penguins won Games 1 and 2 and will be looking for the kill shot. They trail the series 3-1.

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