Stifled Penguins head to Game 7 looking for a spark

Ruben Ruiz
May 20, 2017

[Monday], we weren't able to do any of that. We're talking about a simple check-in on the brain of one of the best players in hockey, and there's either a blatant miscommunication happening here or someone just isn't telling the truth. So Wednesday is going to especially sweet, as the league treats us to a pair of series-clinching matchups that'll decide two spots in the conference finals.

Daley took a hard hit from Tom Wilson from behind early on Saturday and then he got tangled up with Justin Williams near the Capitals bench in the third period.

A 5-4 overtime loss Saturday - after the Senators scored the tying goal with 1:26 left in the third period on a shot that bounced off three Rangers before trickling across the goal line - put NY on the brink of elimination.

Boudreau, who is 1-7 in his National Hockey League coaching career in Game 7 after success in that spot in the minors, thinks goaltending will be the difference. But we didn't play well enough in Game 4.

"When you go in like that, it just kind of knocked the wind out of me", Crosby said.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the centralized concussion spotter made the determination that the play did not meet the concussion protocol criteria for mandatory removal from play. It's over now and we'll work on ways to adjust even better next game.

For a deciding Game 7, however, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said his team can't expect momentum to carry over. But I'd say it's built over the course of the entire year. I don't really want to do it. Every game is always different in a series; there are changes all over the place. He most certainly got it.

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. The Pittsburgh superstar has a history of head injuries, yet he returned to playoff hockey - where the referees swallow their whistles and let "hockey plays" happen with aplomb - to try to win another Stanley Cup. Save for a couple of tight saves in the middle of Game 5 that kept the Capitals within striking distance, Holtby has rarely been tested.

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"Any guy that goes into the boards like that, the first thing is the trainer and the doctors, that's how it goes", Crosby said. "I think there were some chances to be had there a few times and we just didn't execute".

When it comes to concussion science, experts caution smaller, subsequent blows to the head often do more long-term damage to athletes' brains than the initial injury. Alexander Burakovsky has elevated his play over the past two games.

While Holtby is heating up, Marc-Andre Fleury is cooling down.

Everyone knows how good Alex Ovechkin is and the Penguins will do everything they can to stifle him offensively, but in Washington's three wins this series, two other players have proven to be critical.

"We haven't had success so far this series playing fast and that's something we have to get back to", said Patric Hornqvist.

"I haven't been here forever but, one, I've never been in a Game 7", said Washington forward T.J.

Penguins fans may be fearing the worst heading into Wednesday night's decisive Game 7, but we found at least seven reasons to believe in the Pens.

"I'm not comfortable that he was allowed to continue playing".

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