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Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Sport | By Dustin Murphy

Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

"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.

The Pittsburgh Penguins led this Eastern Conference semifinal series 3-1 at one point, but the Washington Capitals have battled back to force a Game 7 which is set for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. PT. "I can't believe we have to say that in 2017". It wasn't quite the first period we wanted, but the last 40 [minutes] were really good for us. "Even in the Toronto series, and then a couple games in this series, mentally we weren't able to stay focused". If you need even more convincing, here's an important stat: The team that scores first in Game 7 is 124-42 all-time including a 5-0 mark in 2016. It's going to be the toughest game of the series.

Pittsburgh should spend minimal time going over Game 6, but they should address a few key issues.

“I dont know if theres any hump to get over, ” said Trotz, who is 1-1 with the Capitals in two Game 7 opportunities in 2015. Defensively, the Pittsburgh Penguins are allowing 2.8 goals per game and are killing 79.8 percent of their power play chances.

I don't doubt that the Penguins will be ready and do everything they can to win, but I doubt their ability to win eight more game after that. At first blush, it looks as though the league emerged from this one, but it might not be so lucky next time.

From the first drop of the puck, it was the Caps' night. "We just could not sustain anything on their half of the ice, really". An 8-year-old at the time, he was already hooked on the game and the guys in the red, white and blue sweaters.

The Capitals have to be the favorites going into Wednesday. He stopped all six low-danger shots and 12 of the 13 medium-danger shots he faced. When the Caps fell to 3-1 after four games, many were left scratching their heads wondering how could Washington be outshooting Pittsburgh so badly and yet still be losing the series? It's bad luck for us tonight. "That's a game we thought we probably should have had".

Washington coach Barry Trotz rolled the dice after a Game 4 loss and switched forwards Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky on lines one and three, and he got the desired result.

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This past October, the NHL announced updates to its concussion protocol, the centrepiece of which was a new staff of "Central League Spotters" that would monitor all contests from the NHL's Player Safety Room in NY. Andre Burakovsky has found his rhythm as well, adding another three goals in the last two games. "I am sure the club's medical and training staff were satisfied that the Player was fine before he was permitted to return to play".

The Capitals have spent the better part of the season insisting this time, things will be different. That they are trying to come back from a 3-1 deficit is also fitting for a team that has blown so many 3-1 series leads in the past.

Consider that the shaky goalie was once Washington's Braden Holtby, yanked after two periods of the second game.

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The ratings likely won't be quite as high there thanks to the game being on NBCSN rather than NBC (to say nothing of no Derby lead-in), but that should still draw well, especially in comparison to numerous other second-round matchups.

That wasn't an issue last May as the Penguins won a pair of elimination games in the conference finals to reach the Cup on the way to their fourth championship. And we still have our back against the wall.

"I don't know if there is any hump to get over", Trotz said of Game 7. In hockey, the play had long since headed up the ice.

THE EASTER EPIC: Technically, Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division semifinals began on April 18. It's its own entity.

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