Capitals, Ducks confront Game 7 demons vs. Penguins, Oilers

Jeanine Leech  Icon Sportswire

There are areas we have addressed nearly daily, certainly game in and game out, where we know we can be better as a group and we work on that. Reaching into Pittsburgh's collective throat and yanking out its larynx would be none other than the Washington Capitals. Just as the noose began to tighten in the third period, Holtby came up with a few key saves and suddenly Washington went from facing elimination to a 4-2 win.

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

"No... No..." Sullivan said, and he did not elaborate. 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. More recently, he missed Game 4 after being fouled on an unfortunate, awkward hit from Matt Niskanen in Game 3.

"If they go through the protocol then I usually get notified by our medical staff, that's the process", Sullivan said. But concussion spotters didn't pull him off the ice because of a guideline in the NHL's concussion protocol. They've controlled the puck, been more patient and made timely adjustments. What better way to put all that behind him than by dominating to lift his team to a victory in Game 7?

Perhaps Crosby just fell a little awkwardly and was winded. But I'd say it's built over the course of the entire year.

The protocol states that a player can be removed from play by the spotter after he is "slow to get up" or "clutches his head" following three mechanisms of injury: a blow to the head or upper torso from another player's shoulder, the player's head making secondary contact with the ice, or if the player is punched in the head with a fist during a fight.

Despite being ahead in the series, Pittsburgh has been outshot in every game, by an average of 34.8 to 23. "So you've got to adapt and work your way through it and make sure that you're dictating it as much as possible".

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.

Since 2009 the Penguins have won two Stanley Cup titles and since 2005 the Steelers have won two Super Bowl titles.

The Capitals have to be the favorites going into Wednesday.

"It just kind of knocked the wind out of me, kind of a fluky fall but not one you want to take too often", Crosby said. I think that's up to you guys to understand all that different stuff.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel have been fantastic offensively in the playoffs. That is something that they will have to clean up heading into Game 7 at Verizon Center. The Penguins have outscored the Capitals 12-3 in winning the previous three Game 7s. The eyes of the hockey world will be on Washington on Wednesday. "We're having fun now", said Capitals coach Barry Trotz, whose club trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in the series. Eastern Conference and 19-7 in their last 26 games following a loss of 3 or more goals. "We're doing a good job on the walls, getting pucks deep and getting pucks out of our end".

"I don't know if there's any hump to get over", said Trotz, who is 1-1 with the Capitals in two Game 7 opportunities in 2015.

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



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