Penguins lose Game 6, but Crosby's health of more concern


FILE - This April 28, 2010 file photo shows Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak, of Slovakia, celebrating the team's 2-1 win as Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russian Federation, skates off after Game 7 of the.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom got his sixth of the playoffs and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Monday night to force Game 7 in their taut Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Capitals forced a Game 7 on Monday, and it's set for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. There's no word on whether Crosby will play.

The Penguins, who are 4-1 at home this postseason, share a mantra as they look to eliminate Washington in six games for the second spring in a row.

"Since about Game 3, we've had a calmness about what we are doing", Trotz said.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ryan Johansen scored the game-winning goal 3:15 into the third period, and Nashville advanced to its first Western Conference final in franchise history Sunday by beating St. Louis to take the series in six games.

"It just kind of knocked the wind out of me, kind of a fluky fall but not one you want to take too often", Crosby said. Let's face it, those shots are more likely to get blocked before they ever reach Fleury than they are to get on net.

Perhaps Crosby just fell a little awkwardly and was winded. Over the past two games, Fleury has allowed nine goals and has just an 84.4 save percentage.

Jake Guentzel picked up his playoff-leading ninth goal and Evgeni Malkin added another 52 seconds later late in the third period to make the score look slightly better, but the Penguins were never in it. Ovechkin, who went without a point in Game 6, had three shots and three hits.

The biggest change you can see is the reuniting of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel, otherwise known as the HBK line.

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Crosby on Tuesday defended the decision to play on, saying he had shown "zero" concussion symptoms. Though "HBK" was hardly the only group that had issues.

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. Crosby was slow to get up and Hornqvist had to retreat quickly to the bench, but both remained in the game. He didn't miss a shift.

"I mean, if you're looking for a test if you're back, it's a good one", he joked.

The Penguins couldn't seem to move the puck out of their zone, and the rare times they escaped their zone, they had trouble entering Washington's zone.

"All it's going to take is all we have, and all we have is our leadership, the 20 players we dress". The Pens fought hard to stay in the game, though the first period ended with the lone Caps goal. So I think we were probably guilty of making a few mistakes early on and then probably chasing our mistakes after that.

"We're just trying to shoot where there is open spot", Kuznetsov said.

For a deciding Game 7, however, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said his team can't expect momentum to carry over.

Crosby was a nonfactor for a second straight game after sitting out Game 4 with a concussion.

The victor of that series will face the Nashville Predators, who eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues to make their first conference finals appearance in franchise history. These are the games in which they live to play.