'Confident' Capitals appear poised to finish off comeback vs. Penguins

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. "I don't know if I tripped on a stick or someone else".

The Capitals are as close as they've been to their first appearance in the conference finals in 19 years after rallying from a 3-1 series deficit by sprinting by Pittsburgh in the third period at home in Game 5 and then delivering a masterful performance 48 hours later in a city that's often been a burial ground for once-promising seasons.

Crosby had been diagnosed with a concussion seven days earlier - at least the fourth of his career - that forced him to miss Game 4 and caused many to scrutinize whether the NHL's preeminent figure should ease back into the series to ensure full recovery.

The best moments were the times they got the puck past Fleury, the 2009 Stanley Cup victor who was Matt Murray's backup on the Penguins' title run a year ago and is only starting because of the 23-year-old's injury. "The fun part is the obstacle, and the obstacle is a good team in Pittsburgh".

Jake Guentzel picked up his playoff-leading ninth goal and Evgeni Malkin added another late in the third period to make the score look cosmetically better, but the Penguins were never in it. Ruhwedel played in 34 games this season for the Penguins, registering two goals and eight assists. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was given a torrid time, blocking 21 of 26 shots.

The Penguins captain - who had only just returned from a recent concussion - sparked fresh fears for his health after plunging headfirst into the boards in Monday's Game 6 loss to the Caps.

The story lines swirl around the teams' stars.

None of it worked as Washington pushed the Penguins around.

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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.

He rose slowly to his feet, seemingly disoriented, but remained in the game.

Fine. Crosby said he was checked by a doctor between the first and second periods. They willed in a goal in the second on the individual, playoff-defining effort of Andre Burakovsky, suddenly reborn. Goaltender John Gibson was pulled from his only Game 7 start in 2014 after allowing four goals on 18 shots, and he's coming off another hook after three goals on six shots in a 7-1 drubbing in Game 6 on Sunday. "Motor incoordination/balance problems", in which the spotter must identify the player stumbling or staggering or having trouble skating. "He's a mobile guy, he can skate, he can get back to pucks, he helps us get out of our end zone".

All series the Capitals have been aiming to play better in front of Holtby, who had his best game of the series Saturday in stopping 20 of 22 shots.

Yet instead of simply trying to protect its advantage, Washington kept pressing. His second goal, also unassisted, came at 12:29 of the third period and made it 5-0 for Washington.

The Capitals dominated the Penguins so thoroughly that Pittsburgh only had nine shots on goal after 40 minutes. But consider the intricacies of this series, the factors that set up Game 7. I'd say it's more foolish to pass up the best team in the National Hockey League as an underdog in their most important spot of the season.

Barry Trotz's blue-line emphasis, a key in the Capitals' Game 5 victory, proved vital to Washington's success once more on Monday.

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