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Capitals square series 3-3 against Penguins

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Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, from Russia celebrates scoring the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with teammates T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, from Sweden and Karl Alzner during the

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury allowed five goals against the Capitals Monday night.

Crosby, 29, incurred a concussion in the first period of Game 3 of the Pens' Eastern Conference semifinal against the Washington Capitals after receiving a slash from Alex Ovechkin and a cross check to the head from Matt Niskanen in quick succession.

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will meet in a Game 7 for the fourth time and second time in the Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin era.

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.

Then, in Game 6, the Penguins put on an absolutely abysmal performance as the Capitals raced out to score five straight goals before Jake Guentzel found the net with only 3:22 left in the game. It's nearly as if the Capitals faced their worst fears while trailing during the third period in Game 5 in Washington, found a way to win that game, and have seized this second life ever since.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ryan Johansen scored the game-winning goal 3:15 into the third period, and Nashville advanced to its first Western Conference final in franchise history Sunday by beating St. Louis to take the series in six games.

Crosby, however, said he simply had the wind knocked out of him and that he had been evaluated, calling it "pretty standard stuff", per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. "If we can hold onto the puck a little bit more, we should get more shots".

Perhaps Crosby just fell a little awkwardly and was winded. The first three rallied Washington from a 2-1 deficit to keep its season alive.

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Both Kerr and Brown emphasized a better start on both ends in Game 2 to control the tempo from the opening tip. Golden State quickly established its pass-happy, up-tempo style to take the Spurs out from the opening tip.

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Nadal served first, racing to a 30-0 lead before Kyrgios made an early declaration of intent with a stunning two-handed return. The sixth-seeded Nishikori withdrew saying his wrist was "not 100 percent" and he didn't "want to risk" a more serious injury.

It wasn't unlike most of the first four games of the series, when Washington would control play for long stretches only to have Pittsburgh expertly counter on its way to a 3-1 advantage.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan tinkered with his line combinations reuniting the "HBK" line (Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel) that played an instrumental part in the team's Cup run last spring.

Crosby practiced without complications with the Penguins on Tuesday. Though "HBK" was hardly the only group that had issues.

Nicklas Backstrom evened the game for Washington at 2:49 of the third period and 5 minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the crucial third goal for the lead. Burky's a great skater and a really good goal scorer, so he's finding whether it's through the line or whether it's just through him, he's creating space to get his shot off and I think we all know how good that is. He didn't miss a shift and stressed he felt fine.

Boudreau, who is 1-7 in his National Hockey League coaching career in Game 7 after success in that spot in the minors, thinks goaltending will be the difference.

Washington will benefit from playing at home and get off to a fast start. The Capitals will need Holtby to continue this trend if they hope to advance past the Penguins. Now they're doing neither. "I think the difference is the last two games is maybe we capitalize on the chances too and really made sure we stayed on them, too".

Since hiring Trotz in 2014, the Capitals have had two other game sevens, both in 2015. "We can sit here and I can explain for 10 minutes what concussion protocol is and all that stuff".

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