Sidney Crosby got OK from doc to play after head-first crash

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(AP Photo/Nick Wass, file).

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins faces off against Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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. So, Game 7 at home. Probably not for the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. The Capitals' team this year looks nearly nothing like the teams that started the reputation for playoff failure.

"If you look at the games, even if it was 3-1 to them, I thought we actually played better than the results", Backstrom said.

Both players lead the Capitals in this series with four goals and three assists each. 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.

Fleury had stopped 133 of 142 shots through four games, making a mockery out of the core fundamental of hockey that having the puck more and putting it on net leads to success. It's also better than any team in the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball.

And with Game 7 comes more pressure. “Now it boils down to one. "I think there were some chances to be had there a few times and we just didn't execute". If we dont hold serve, then its not what were looking for.”.

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While the Capitals sniper has been relatively quiet during these playoffs - five goals and eight points in 12 games - it's not from a lack of effort.

"When teams come at you", says Pens defenseman Ron Hainsey, "you should move the puck by them and create that way, especially when they're over [eager]".

While Pittsburgh takes a fair amount of history into Game 7 - where the franchise is 5-0 in winner-take-alls on the road - the Penguins also have fizzled out. The Capitals have come back from 3-1, but they're still the team with the best regular-season record. "Based on (Monday) night I don't see any reason why they won't". Among the long departed who played that night: Bill Guerin, Mirolsav Satan and Hal Gill for the Penguins; Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov for the Capitals. Not so, the league maintains, because Crosby's head smashed into the boards, not the ice.

"I mean, there shouldn't be any wondering about it", Crosby said.

Penguins star? Sidney Crosby again took a nasty hit, this time going headfirst into the boards near the end of the first period. Penguins coach Mike Crosby said afterward that Crosby was not evaluated for a concussion.

Crosby continues to play but isn't pleased that he keeps getting questioned. Crosby clarified the chain of events Tuesday, following the team's practice, noting that he was attended to by the team trainer and then examined by the team doctor, who decided Crosby did not need to enter the protocol at the first intermission. I don't really want to do it.

The Capitals appeared on the verge of another unceremonious exit at the hands of the Penguins going into the third period of Game 5. We're talking about a simple check-in on the brain of one of the best players in hockey, and there's either a blatant miscommunication happening here or someone just isn't telling the truth. Turns out they found some.

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