Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

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Fleury, filling in for an injured Matt Murray, was impenetrable during the first four games of the series, but has now giving up eight goals in four periods and is getting badly outplayed by Holtby.

Jake Guentzel notched his playoff-leading ninth goal late in the third and Evgeni Malkin scored almost a minute later to make the score appear less catastrophic on paper. The Capitals then capitalized on their second power play.

On Monday night, Crosby was slow to get off the ice after the hit, leading many to believe he perhaps suffered another head injury.

The NHL's concussion protocols are under fire after Sydney Crosby took a nasty spill into the boards and was not removed from the game for evaluation during the Pittsburgh Penguins' Game 6 loss to the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals appeared on the verge of another exit at the hands of the Penguins going into the third period of Game 5.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan tinkered with his lines after Game 5, reuniting the "HBK" line (Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel) that played an instrumental part in the team's Cup run last spring.

The NHL has two spotters at each game who can take a player off the ice when a suspected concussion occurs. He remained in the game but found little room to work.

The Pittsburgh Penguins registered their first shot on goal with around 9 minutes to go in the opening period. 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.

They held the Penguins without a shot on goal for 12:17, and Washington's time in the offensive zone helped draw two penalties by Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh had trouble executing even the simplest of plays. Burakovsky forced a turnover by Penguins defenseman Ron Hainsey, moved to the right post and flipped the puck in off Fleury.

This is the fourth time the two teams will meet in a winner-take-all.

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Yet instead of simply trying to protect its advantage, Washington kept pressing.

Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Burakovsky all struck in quick succession to fire Washington into a commanding 5-0 lead in the third period to all but guarantee victory.

"We were sort of stuck in that two- and three-goal area and in a very important moment in the third period obviously in an important game, our guys delivered against him, so I think that gives us a boost of confidence".

The Penguins missed a second straight chance to close out the Capitals.

Still, he has the ability to make heroic saves like this. Roman Josi had a goal and an assist, and Calle Jarnkrok added an empty-netter with 60 seconds left. The Predators will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers for the right to come out of the West.

On Monday morning, it was Oshie who was particularly vocal about this game marking an opportunity for Washington to get a "do-over" and show this isn't the same team that annually falls short of the conference final.

This is the first NHL Game 7 for Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cam Talbot and the majority of the Oilers, who as a franchise last played in one in 2006.

The Flower finished with 21 saves on 26 shots.

The Penguins have championship pedigree, it will take everything they have Wednesday night to advance to the Conference Finals.