Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Capitals look to complete comeback, expect 'desperate' Penguins

Andre Burakovsky scored twice as the Washington Capitals thrashed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 to level their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Monday.

Before the Penguins scored a pair of meaningless third-period goals, the Capitals had outscored Pittsburgh 8-0 going back to the third period of Game 5. Braden Holtby stopped 16 shots as the Capitals sent the series back to Washington for the deciding game Wednesday night.

Crosby, who suffered a concussion in Game 3 and missed Game 4, confirmed he was examined by Penguins trainers and doctors following the first-period, head-first crash into the boards Monday, and it was determined he didn't need to enter the concussion protocol. In Game 4, the Brian Dumoulin-Ron Hainsey defensive pairing spent nearly 10 minutes at even strength in Game 4 defending against Ovechkin's line. C Sidney Crosby's assist on LW Jake Guentzel's third-period goal was his 97th in postseason play, moving him past Hall of Fame C Mario Lemieux for the Pittsburgh record.

Sullivan also added context to his earlier comments by spelling out the process by which the NHL's coaches are apprised of a player's status in relation to the league's concussion protocol. Washington has to overcome their greatest adversary to advance to the next round.

Both teams have had their share of Game 7 experiences over the years.

When the Caps went down 3-1, Trotz stressed to the media that he wanted to see more joy in his team's game. Concussions and their long-term implications are among the hottest-button issues in sports.

After Sidney Crosby barreled into the boards near the end of the first period Monday, he lay face down on the ice for a few moments before pushing himself up. “You talk to the doctor, ” Crosby said Tuesday.

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The Capitals have spent the better part of the season insisting this time, things will be different.

"If we do a little bit better job of (playing in their end), everything else will fall into place", Crosby said. He reported no symptoms.

The protocol states that "identification and removal of Players who require an acute evaluation for possible concussion pursuant to this Protocol is a Club level responsibility", and that Central and In-Arena Spotters assist with that process. The third is a player exhibiting "motor coordination/balance problems". "Blank or vacant look", which the National Hockey League, in its policy, describes as, "A player has a blank or vacant look". One of those visible signs is "slow to get up". Pittsburgh will lean heavily on Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Guentzel. "He probably gets angry when I talk about him". "I think it just knocked the wind out of me but felt fine".

"Exceptions:" the policy continues.

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.

Uh, why in the world would there be specific "mechanisms" by which a player must be injured that require his removal, but the dozens of other ways a hockey player could become concussed - say, slamming headfirst into the boards, for instance - aren't covered? "Ice" has been found to be a predictor of concussions - "boards" has not been".

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