Penguins lose Game 6, but Crosby's health of more concern

The decisive Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Washington (7:30 ET, NBCSN).

Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, battles for the puck with Toronto Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov (47), of Russian Federation, during the second period of Game 5 in an NHL Stanley Cup hockey first-round playoff series, Friday, April 21, 2017, in Washington.

The hard work paid off and the Capitals had their best performance of the playoffs Monday with a 5-2 win in Game 6.

They do, and after all the great work they've done to force a Game 7, the Caps must now win one more game to ensure the last two wins weren't all for naught.

Rangers confident: Though his team trails its East series 3-2, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said he believes his team's experience gives it an edge against the Senators, whom NY hosts Tuesday in a do-or-die game for the Rangers. "We've got a chance to beat them in seven". "Just being a little bit better in the offensive zone".

Still, a 5-2 defeat for the Pens - in Pittsburgh, no less - rings loud as confirmation that the Capitals, the same perennial postseason disappointments who appeared all but dead in the water after Games 1 and 2 at home, are alive and well. Washington went 2 for 4 on the power play. "So you're going to see their best game and their most desperate game of the series".

Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel picked up his playoff-leading ninth goal and Evgeni Malkin added another 52 seconds later late in the third period to make the score look cosmetically better. "This is going to be an opportunity for our team to respond and to play a strong game in a pressure situation". The Penguins reconfigured their lines, reuniting the HBK line of LW Carl Hagelin, C Nick Bonino and RW Phil Kessel that was highly effective a year ago in the playoffs. In fact, it may play right into the Penguins' hands. Though "HBK" was hardly the only group that had issues.

Including a third-period comeback the Capitals authored in Game 5, they scored eight unanswered goals in the series in a span of 69 minutes and 40 seconds.

So as you're reading the policy, and it's clear Crosby was "slow to get up", and it takes just one of the signs to require removal from a game, you have to wonder why he kept playing. He didn't miss a shift and stressed he felt fine. The problem is, at least in this series, the Penguins' offense has seemingly become dependent on those counters.

It feels like the Pittsburgh Penguins blew their chance to close out this series, and now the Capitals are in a comfortable spot where they'll be very confident on their home ice. Now they're doing neither.

"We feel pretty good about our last two games", says Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen, "but we're back to even now, only". Unfortunately, they would pick up only nine shots through two periods and 18 overall on Monday against the Capitals.

"It gives us momentum", Oshie said of the dominating win.

While Pittsburgh takes a fair amount of history into Game 7 - where the franchise is 5-0 in winner-take-alls on the road - the Penguins also have fizzled out.

"The Hurricanes" coach in that Game 7 against Edmonton was none other than Peter Laviolette, who's waiting for the Ducks or Oilers in the Western Conference final with the Nashville Predators.

"I've got to believe that (the momentum from Game 6 is) going to roll over, that they're finally sick and exhausted of hearing that they haven't gone to the third round and will break through", Boudreau said.

  • Julie Sanders