Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury makes a save during the first period of Game 6 in an NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh Monday

The Capitals dominated the Penguins so thoroughly that Pittsburgh only had nine shots on goal after 40 minutes. A soft goal after several games of phenomenal play from Fleury seemed to deflate both him and his teammates, and Washington carried play for the remainder of the second.

What the Penguins need to do if they want to take the next step in becoming the first Stanley Cup champion in almost 20 years to repeat is pretty clear. The Washington Capitals have overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins to force a decisive Game 7 at the Verizon Center on Wednesday. That's what we did so, so well in the first round, we moved pucks past pressure that was coming maybe out of control and created offense.

Imagine this entire scenario five days earlier. Do the math: That's eight straight. They're not just comfortable but able to take a lead - and build on it.

It should also be noted that in 2009, the Penguins lost Game 6 to the Capitals in Pittsburgh, then rallied to blow out the Capitals by four goals in Game 7 in Washington.

"It wasn't like a hard shot, you would think a routine stop, just trickled and found its way", he said. Save for a couple of tight saves in the middle of Game 5 that kept the Capitals within striking distance, Holtby has rarely been tested.

"[The league has] a poorly written policy that should be amended before the puck is dropped in another NHL game", Nowinski said.

EXPERIENCED BLUESHIRTS: New York is facing elimination for the first time in these playoffs on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, and coach Alain Vigneault hopes the collective experience serves his team well. They willed in a goal in the second on the individual, playoff-defining effort of Andre Burakovsky, suddenly reborn. It was the most of any forward on Pittsburgh.

"We are having fun now", Washington coach Barry Trotz said.

What a role reversal.

It goes without saying, but the Penguins (or any hockey team for that matter) can not win without shooting the puck.

What Pittsburgh should not be concerned about is playing in a Game 7. He's picked up an assist in each of the last two games, but we're still waiting for the Rocket Richard Trophy winner's offensive explosion.

Only five Penguins players from that game remain with the team; Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz and the injured Kris Letang.

"If you're not nervous, you're not human", Vigneault said.

Crosby, who has a history of debilitating concussions, was concussed in Game 3 of the series. Is this version any different?

"We weren't getting the results we wanted and guys were squeezing the stick a little bit tighter", Washington defenseman John Carlson said.

The growing knowledge of what concussions are, how they affect people differently and the long-term consequences of concussions add layers of responsibility to more than just the league. If not, it will be another year where Ovechkin is spending his spring playing for a gold in the world championship rather than a Stanley Cup.

This is the fourth time the Penguins and Capitals will meet in a Game 7. Or it could be one of the most painful - a much longer list over the past 25 years.

The series and game will come down to resiliency; which team will put their past behind them and focus on one game. The Pens prevailed on their way to the Stanley Cup.

Here's the most interesting part of this story, though.

Wednesday, they get another chance.

The Canadian star was also sent crashing into the boards during a Penguins power play. He lay on the ice for a moment before collecting himself and skating off.