Recovering Sidney Crosby skates at Penguins practice facility

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"You don't want to try to force it, you don't want to try to dive in front of every shot, but it the opportunity arises, you want to try to get the shot blocked". Outscoring them is another matter entirely.

All this from a Capitals team that is built just about perfectly and played like it for most of this season. "He's a competitive guy".

Consider the Capitals believers. Without him, the Penguins gritted their way to three goals on 18 shots Wednesday. We can't just be going out there taking penalties.

"Now our backs are against the wall", Trotz said. It also forced his team to figure out a way to survive without one of the game's most brilliant catalysts while simultaneously trying to rein in their anger at what they considered a dirty hit. Sullivan has drilled that mentality into them since he's arrived. Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov intercepted a pass but was unable to corral the puck near the crease, and it caromed off his skate and past Holtby.

Now, after a great sell job from Nick ("and the Oscar goes to ...") Bonino, we're wondering if the officials weren't a little whistle-happy after T.J. Oshie was called for a high stick penalty that didn't actually feature a high stick.

Also, they should be more frustrated that this Caps team is even in a position to be burned by a missed call while playing against a Penguins team with no Sidney Crosby, no Kris Letang, no Matt Murray and no Conor Sheary.

The official announcement was on Tuesday and, even if the series went to the maximum distance, that would give Crosby a week and a day to be symptom-free to return for Game 7.

"There's no doubt we played a strong game", NY coach Alain Vigneault said. "They need to be top players, and step up right now".

It shouldn't be surprising that the Penguins are leading the Capitals 3-1 despite losing their best player, best defenseman, and arguably best goaltender to injury. Jake Guentzel leads Pittsburgh with eight goals, Evgeni Malkin has 12 assists and Phil Kessel has 32 shots on goal. Beagle suggested the two work out their differences over video games. The "Mario Kart" showdown Beagle wanted will have to wait too. Hornqvist took a feed from Olli Maatta and beat a pair of Washington defenders to break in on Holtby. He moved in and lifted the puck over Holtby's left pad.

The Penguins benefited from an own-goal for a 2-0 lead at 3:51 of the second.

The Capitals tied it within a 72-second span later in the second. The Penguins scored a total of three goals in their final three losses, another in a string of playoff failures that led to the firing of general manager Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma later that spring.

Fleury did the rest. You (have to) check your feet in those big moments. "(Malkin) put it in a good spot for me".

The Oilers had an excellent chance to seize control of their series with the Ducks after winning the first two games in Anaheim, but the Ducks returned the favor in Edmonton.

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Drake Caggiula, Connor McDavid and Milan Lucic scored for Edmonton, and Cam Talbot had 35 saves.

"It's a 2-2 series now", Caggiula said. He played one game there for the Penguins this season, but has pretty extensive experience at the position in Wilkes-Barre and his college days.

But those lines were shuffled a bit throughout the game, and there is no reason to think Sullivan won't shuffle them again ahead of Game 5.

"We haven't accomplished anything yet", Getzlaf said.

Harsh? Maybe. And we understand it takes players time to grow into roles.

Edmonton led 2-0 after the opening period on goals from Lucic and McDavid. With his 35th and 36th playoff goals, Getzlaf surpassed Teemu Selanne as the franchise's career leader.

"He's been an energized player since our five-day break. We didn't find a way in the third". In other words, the same thing they have been doing all postseason.

The best teams still block shots, a necessary evil this time of year with scoring usually at a premium. "I love playing right now".

The Penguins 3-2 game victor came on one of those penalties. The Oilers contended Perry bumped Talbot as he was beaten on a wrist shot.

"They have a clear understanding of the challenge", he said.

"I think he did last night", winger Patric Hornqvist said.

Then, they'll have to defeat the Penguins twice more after that or be eliminated in the second round again.

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