Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

'Flower' is left out to dry: Caps finally solve Marc-Andre Fleury

'Flower' is left out to dry: Caps finally solve Marc-Andre Fleury

They've controlled the puck, been more patient and made timely adjustments. The Penguins won 5-2 and then took Game 7 at home to advance to the Stanley Cup final. The Capitals have forced the Pittsburgh Penguins into a victor take all showdown on Wednesday in Verizon.

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. As per NBC, that's the most-watched early-round Stanley Cup Playoff game in people meter history, which dates back to 1993. And we still have our back against the wall.

The Capitals weren't going to be denied a Game 6, though, not on that night.

The Steel City crowd, of course, wasn't completely dead - and neither were the Pens - in the waning minutes of the contest, when Pittsburgh capitalized on some busted coverage from (a comfortable?) Caps defense during a 4-on-4 with two late scores.

Nowinski went on to say that Crosby probably should have been evaluated.

A week removed from a concussion that sidelined him for a game, Crosby ended up skating slowly off the ice after what he described as having the wind knocked out of him. The last time the Capitals came back from a 3-1 series deficit to win a postseason series was in 2009 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

"Certainly in the series, the explosion we had in [Game 5] in the third was a good confidence boost, and I think we played a really good game [Monday]". These were the highlights of Crosby's game until he picked up an assist on Jake Guentzel's goal with less than four minutes left to snap Braden Holtby's shutout. He played in Game 5, and did not appear to be missing anything from his game or showing any signs of distress.

With nearly the entire team back from last year's Stanley Cup run, the Penguins have plenty of experience to draw on, especially when it comes to playing with their backs against the wall.

Just like we all predicted. "We can sit here and I can explain for 10 minutes what concussion protocol is and all that stuff".

He also took exception to spotters not being able to remove a player from action on a play that includes their head hitting the boards. Andre Burakovsky stripped the puck from Ron Hainsey along the boards and walked in on Marc-Andre Fleury, beating him with a patient shot from in close that squeaked through the netminder's arm and into the net for a 2-0 Washington lead - the only goal of the night that didn't beat Fleury high-glove.

The Capitals have lost six of nine Game 7s in the Alex Ovechkin era, and the Ducks have lost five in a row with stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, including a heartbreaker in each of the last four years. Those spotters, working both from a centralized location via TV feed and from the stands of games themselves, have the power to trigger a player's removal from the game if they deem protocol necessary. The fifth is when a player is "slow to get up" or "clutches his head". In his first season Washington won Game 7 in the conference quarterfinals with the Islanders before losing to the Rangers in Game 7 in the semifinals.

JAROSLAV WHO?: The Capitals responded a year after falling to the Penguins by posting the NHL's best record for the first time ever.

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