Washington Capitals hope to tie up series against Crosby-less Penguins

Ross Houston
May 3, 2017

One player who will be available for Game 4 is Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen.

"Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion and will miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday" (NHL.com). League spokesman John Dellapina confirmed in an email that no hearing was planned. He returned to play eight games and then missed another 40 games that season due to concussion-like symptoms.

"Certainly didn't mean to injure him", said Niskanen, who spent four years with Crosby in Pittsburgh before signing with Washington in 2014.

However, the Penguins are a resilient bunch, and they still have a lot of other good players, and coach Mike Sullivan has been making all the right moves.

The Capitals also have a decent chance of rallying from what was a 2-0 series deficit, perhaps extending the tense, bitter battle to six or seven games. Near the crease, Crosby's left skate was clipped by the skate of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who then appeared to slash Crosby in the back, only to have his stick bounce up and hit Crosby in the helmet.

The Matt Niskanen cross-check that ended his night wasn't especially reckless: Crosby was falling toward the ice, and in a split-second reaction, Niskanen plowed into him with his stick.


Crosby spent several minutes lying on the ice after the hit while being attended by the medical staff.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' star forward suffered the injury during Monday night's Game 3 against the Washington Capitals.

Here's hoping Sidney's healthy enough for Game 4.

Should Niskanen face further discipline from the National Hockey League?

It was a game of many ups and downs.

In Dec. 2011, Crosby took an elbow to the head from David Krejci during a game against the Boston Bruins, which kept him out of the game for about two months. With unfortunate injuries and goals given up, the Capitals managed to take a game from the Pittsburgh Penguins.


The Penguins have only lost one game so far this post season and the main reason for that success has been absolutely superb goal-tending by Marc-Andre Fleury and incredibly explosive offense by the aforementioned.

We are going to find out some things about the Washington Capitals now.

The Penguins will be channeling some of their emotion toward playing a strong game in Crosby's absence. The Capitals won in overtime 3-2.

"Obviously he's a tough guy to replace on the power play", Sullivan said.

"Well I thought it was really a hockey play", Trotz began, a common phrase for defending a controversial hit.

Niskanen said following the game the hit was not intentional.


For the Penguins, this is a jarring loss of their best player during a series that pits the two teams with the most regular-season points against each other. But the Pens would score twice in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game and send the Pittsburgh crowd into a frenzy.

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