Washington Capitals desperate to avoid legacy of playoff choking

Sidney Crosby leaves the ice with trainer Chris Stewart after being hit by the Capitals' Matt Niskanen

Sidney Crosby leaves the ice with trainer Chris Stewart after being hit by the Capitals' Matt Niskanen

"And we weren't able to kill a penalty". "Even if you don't want to block it, you're making them shoot somewhere where they don't want to".

ABOUT THE PENGUINS: While Crosby remains the face of the league, fellow former Hart Trophy victor Evgeni Malkin leads the NHL with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in eight playoff games and is no stranger to picking up the slack in the absence of "Sid the Kid".

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals meet Saturday in game five of the second round National Hockey League playoffs at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals are either wearing them down to a limp for the next opponent, or they're preparing to stage a memorable surge in the final three games of this series. And then, with less than two minutes remaining and the extra attacker on the ice, Oshie was called for high sticking.

"That was by far the hardest game of the series", Ellis said. Crosby, the Penguins' captain and the centerpiece of their offense, missed Game 4 after he was cross-checked by Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen in the first period of Game 3. "There's little ways where you don't expose yourself to vulnerable areas, but sometimes you have to in order to get that block".

Sidney Crosby lies on the ice after the hit in question
Sidney Crosby lies on the ice after the hit in question

If so, this is one heck of a swan song.

Four games played and four games have the Capitals been the best team. After posting a.933 save percentage against the Blue Jackets, he has actually improved upon those numbers with a.937 save percentage against the high-powered Capitals. He returns briefly for three games on March 4 before missing seven more games.

Matt Niskanen's shot to Crosby's jaw early in Game 3 left Crosby with a concussion and his immediate future uncertain. If they can't win now, I'm not sure their time will ever come. "We're very optimistic and hopeful we'll have him back in a timely fashion", Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday of Crosby, a two-time Hart Trophy victor and a finalist for the award this season. "I thought the guys showed character together as a team playing well offensively and defensively and getting that win".

Will a player such as Jake Guentzel, who leads all NHLers in the post-season with seven goals, be almost as effective without Crosby on the ice with him? That gave the Capitals' power play two more minutes to score at the start of the third, but a slashing call on Alex Ovechkin wiped out the last 1:19 of the advantage. In Game 3, he willed the Penguins back into the game, scoring their first goal and assisting on Justin Schultz's game-tying goal. That's the burden that comes with being the best. We've the live stream details to watch game four on May 3 at 7:30pm EST. And so does his head coach.

Capitals Coach Barry Trotz chose to use a seventh defensemen in favor of a 12th forward in Game 3 on Monday, subbing Karl Alzner into the lineup for Paul Carey.

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