NHL

Pens Lose Crosby, Sheary, and Caps Win In Overtime

The Pittsburgh Penguins were dealt a tough hand tonight as Sidney Crosby would leave the game after taking two brutal hits.  The first was a couple of hacks by Ovechkin who broke his stick over Crosby’s head or shoulder that sent him flying, which culminated in a vicious Cross Check to the head and face by Matt Niskanen.   Niskanen was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.  The Pens would lose Sheary late and Bonino left the ice for some time.  All of that happened and the Pens were down 2-0. Instead of packing it up for the night, all they did was torture  Braden Holtby for 2 goals in :48 seconds in the final 3 minutes to tie the game and send it to overtime.  It would be a suspect call on Daley that would lead to a power play and a game winning goal to give the Capitals a 3-2 win.

Pens lead the series 2 games to 1, but it will be a wait and see with regards to Sid for Game 4. Although, there was this tweet that I thought was interesting.

It is obviously a wait and see, but if he were to return on Wednesday, PPG Paints arena would explode.

With that said, unlike the first two games, I feel like the Pens were the better team in the first two periods. It would be a goal that would bounce off of a Pens player Later in the first  period that would give the Capitals a 1-0 lead.  That happened shortly after Crosby left and at that point it felt like the air was taken out of the building.  But the Pens pushed after that.   They outshot the Capitals 23-20 in those periods.

The game and series in my opinion was saved when Winnick saved a puck crossing the goal like from Rust after the Pens lost Sid and it there was still no score.  If the Penguins score there, I truly believe it’s over.

The first 10 minutes of the third period though was completely different.   At one point, Washington was out shooting  the Pens 10-1 in the third period.  They would finish out shooting the Pens 11-6 during the third.

Down 2-0, the Pens took a time out with less than 3 minutes left.  They would put together a plan to pull Fleury and put the puck behind Holtby that had been stellar to that point.  Evgeni Malkin, whom played like a man possessed, ripped a shot on the short side of Holtby to cut the lead in half with just under 2 minutes left and the Pens with the additional guy on the ice.  Then, 48 seconds later, he would set up Justin Shultz who would snap one from between the circles behind  Braden Holtby to tie the game with around a minute to play.

Pittsburgh would hold on and both teams would go to overtime.  Pens would enter feeling great because they overcame injuries and a deficit.  The Caps had that feeling of, here we go again.

Then in overtime, Washington came out jumping and the Pens looked slower almost like they were playing to tie and did not have enough to finish.  Trevor Daley, who struggled a bit throughout the game would get burned on a breakaway and would be forced to drag a Capitals player down as he skated towards Fleury.   It would have been a penalty during the season, but questionable during the playoffs.   It appeared to be a bit of a dive.  But a smart play none the less.

The Pens and Fleury would give up a weak goal during the power play to give the Capitals the win.  In the end, it was a tough night, but there can be no shame.  The Pens were so shorthanded with speed and no Sidney Crosby gave the Caps the distinct advantage.

We will probably not hear anything of substance from Sullivan although after the game the Capitals Coach called the Niskanen hit, “a hockey play.”  I put that in the same category as the Joe Maddon of the Cubs calling theJung ho Kang play a couple years ago a planter fasciitis after tearing his knee into pieces.  Total garbage.

After the game, Sullivan said they have no updates on their injured players.  When asked about the hit that was called a hockey play, Sullivan said “he would rather not share his opinion.”  Well phrased.

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