Penguins and Capitals take it the distance

The reality is that we had to wait.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom got his sixth of the playoffs and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Monday night to force Game 7 in their taut Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Don't think that the really bad news home fans were dreading was a defeat.

Neither would be a picnic, but based on regular season results, the Senators should probably be hoping the Pittsburgh Penguins knock off the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the other Eastern Conference semifinal Wednesday night.

The scary aspect for the Capitals is that they lost games in this series when they outplayed the Penguins. That was a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Cup Final as, you guessed it, Williams sealed it with an empty-netter. "Motor incoordination/balance problems", in which the spotter must identify the player stumbling or staggering or having trouble skating.

The Penguins had multiple chances to win that one game. They played loose and started enjoying themselves and you could see it in their play.

#4 - In the clash of captains, how can you not side with Sidney Crosby? Unfortunately, they would pick up only nine shots through two periods and 18 overall on Monday against the Capitals. The Pens have scored 39 goals, averaging 3.55 per game.

It also came exactly a week after Crosby sustained a concussion in Game 3. Crosby was clearly stunned and made his way up to his feet and off the ice very slowly. No longer would a trainer have to be told to go forth and multiply after tapping a player on the shoulder and telling him to leave the bench. He did not. A collective sigh of relief. But because of how they reached that moment - by playing their best hockey when nothing less would suffice - they will take the ice as favorites. Crosby fell head first into the boards and teammate Patric Hornqvist landed on his head.

And, the final sign: "Slow to get up or clutches his head".

And of course Crawford (or Crosby) will want to stay in the game. Give me a god damn break. That said, the Penguins were still trailing only 2-0 entering the third period, but didn't get any sustained pressure until the Capitals opened up a 5-0 lead. Nowinski called the Crosby play "nearly the nightmare scenario' concussion experts worry about". The Capitals were the best team in the National Hockey League during the regular season but were down 3-1 in their series against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The prognosis for a full recovery: well, if it's not by 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night, he'll have until the fall. Both teams have looked completely different when playing from behind. They looked exhausted, disinterested, they were flat-footed, they turned the puck over... all of the things that won them the Stanley Cup (and a Game 6 versus the Capitals a year ago) they suddenly quit doing. It feels all too familiar; finding ways to win early and then like a flipped switch, nothing works and the Penguins can't buy a goal or event a shot on goal.

Crosby took the brunt of a brutal head-first crash into the boards during Game 6 on Monday, just days after being diagnosed with a concussion from a hit to the head. Oshie's goal came with Crosby watching from the penalty box, off for hooking the ever-irritating Tom Wilson.

During his postgame press conference, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was asked if Crosby was evaluated for a concussion during the first intermission.

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