Minus Crosby, Penguins edge Capitals 3-2 to take 3-1 lead

Minus Crosby, Penguins edge Capitals 3-2 to take 3-1 lead

Crosby, who led the National Hockey League with 44 goals in the regular season, missed the game after suffering a concussion early in Game 3. When the Capitals' T.J. Oshie was called for a high-stick penalty with a minute and 52 seconds remaining, a brief-but-fleeting few seconds of relief seemed to be there for Sidney Crosby's father to take in - and maybe breathe in.

Fans who pay the freight all want to see the best players out there on the ice.

With the win, not only do the Penguins now have a commanding lead in the series, but they've now left the Capitals with a bad taste in their mouths after losing a game they should've won.

The Pittsburgh star is out for Wednesday's Game 4 while recovering from yet another concussion, this one coming from being cross-checked in the head by Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen in the first period of Washington's 3-2 overtime victory on Monday night. But as they so often do, the Penguins responded when Justin Schultz found the back of the net with a slap shot on the power play.

Game over. Series over?

Marc-Andre Fleury has been excellent in these playoffs.

Even for teams that would rather defend than block shots, sometimes getting in the way of a slap shot is like encountering a grizzly bear.

If so, this is one heck of a swan song.

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Watching Game 4, you might presume that there's no reason to rush Crosby back in the lineup. After posting a.933 save percentage against the Blue Jackets, he has actually improved upon those numbers with a.937 save percentage against the high-powered Capitals.

That's how it looked right up until the puck drop in Game 4 Wednesday.

There's no way in you know where that Matt Niskanen should be suspended for Sidney Crosby's latest concussion. "I think, me personally, I have to play much better". The Penguins put just nine shots on goal in the final two periods, while the Capitals fired 26 pucks Fleury's way.

During a conference call with reporters, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan described the status of his top-line centre as a "day-to-day process" and didn't reveal Crosby's availability for Saturday's Game 5 in the NHL Eastern Conference semifinal in Washington (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:15 p.m. ET). "He's a competitive guy". You can email me at jwarmington@postmedia.com and I will share some of your thoughts on the controversial situation.

While Fleury and others have stepped up in the absence of Murray, Crosby, Conor Sheary and Kris Letang, Washington is not getting almost enough out of a healthy and full lineup.

Gibson held off the Oilers over the first 10 minutes of the game when they outshot the Ducks 8-3. That's the burden that comes with being the best. The Rangers can tie the series up at 2 games a piece with a win Thursday at home. He says in a ideal world, Ovechkin would have also been given a two minute penalty for slashing, but was happy to see the five minute major assessed to the Caps' defenceman.

He notes that athletes may experience the sensation of seeing stars or might take knocks to the head at the youth level but don't acknowledge them as head injuries.

Trotz made sure to not single out Ovechkin with his comments, but it is becoming more and more impossible to just give Ovechkin a pass in the postseason.