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The Pittsburgh Penguins are averaging 3.4 goals per game and are scoring on 23.1 percent of their power plays. And here, against the defending Stanley Cup champions, they responded with all the qualities their predecessors have so frequently ceded to opponents – poise and patience, savvy, a self-assuredness that, frankly, was somewhat unsettling given the name across the front of their sweaters. That’s what we did so, so well in the first round, we moved pucks past pressure that was coming maybe out of control and created offense.

Rangers forward Jesper Fast said: “We have no time to waste right now”. The Capitals, then, stood on the precipice. Do the math: That’s eight straight. The potential consequences of playing through repeated significant head trauma is something the league badly needs to take more seriously. They understand their ability again.

The Penguins will start by shaking the lines up for Game 7. “I think it just knocked the wind out of me but felt fine”. The Capitals are 41-12 in their last 53 games playing on 1 days rest, 62-22 in their last 84 home games and 36-16 in their last 52 games following a win.

NEXT GAME: The Capitals will look for their first Game 7 victory over the Penguins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. And this has nothing to do with the Penguins because the new concussion spotter protocol was supposed to take this decision entirely out of their hands. How many goals have they given up?

By Tuesday the reunion was already in the rearview mirror, with all three players on separate lines during a brief by spirited practice. “That should serve us well (Wednesday)”, Sullivan said.

What a role reversal. Crawford came up woozy and clearly needed to undergo post-concussion protocol, but he stayed in the game after a brief check from a trainer. So well try to keep this thing going for a Game 7 at home.”.

Since hiring Trotz in 2014, the Capitals have had two other game sevens, both in 2015. There’s no way they should be put in the position where they have to weigh the long-term health of a player between the desire to win a hockey game, particularly in the heat of the moment. Washington scored in every period, scored twice on the power play, was flawless on the penalty kill, and needed just 26 shots on goal to score five times. “You talk to the doctor”. Not once, but twice between the 2009 and 2016 Stanley Cups, the Penguins blew 3-1 series leads and lost (at home) in Game 7.

Fleury had stopped 133 of 142 shots through four games, making a mockery out of the core fundamental of hockey that having the puck more and putting it on net leads to success. The play occurred with 2:14 to go in the first period. Is this version any different?

“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted”, said defenseman Brian Dumoulin said of Game 6, “but it’s a best-of-seven series for a reason”.

“They just kind of fell apart”, Peters said. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup that year.

Crosby returned to the Penguins’ lineup Saturday night after passing concussion tests. The people of Washington don’t know what a Stanley Cup victor looks like from short range, not even close.

The Washington Capitals own three wins in the Eastern Conference semifinal and feel as if they have performed well enough to have more. “If a Player is Slow to Get Up or Clutches his Head following a mechanism of injury other than the three listed above, removal from play is not mandatory and Club medical staff shall exercise their medical judgment as to whether to remove the Player for an acute evaluation”.

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