Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

NHL: Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

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 a Game 7 in their taut Eastern Conference semifinal.

He didn't. His teammates noticed and the Capitals responded with back-to-back wins, extending the best-of-7 series. This will be the fourth time they will meet in a Game 7. Probably not for the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks.

Craig Anderson worked in only one of the half dozen games and he was chased by the Penguins after nearly 53 minutes of one encounter, giving up seven goals on 43 shots in the eventual 8-5 loss on December 5 at PPG Paints Arena.

Crosby, who sat out a game to recover from his most recent concussion, was agonizingly slow to get up. "I believe in this group and we're going to rely on our experience".

"Yep. Yeah. Pretty standard", Crosby told NHL Network, affirming doctors had cleared him to keep playing.

Washington opened the scoring on the same power play, when Backstrom released Evgeny Kuznetsov who set up Oshie for a 1-0 lead. The Austrian winger has scored three goals and added an assist.

On the other end of the ice, the Penguins have lost two straight games. "That should serve us well (Wednesday)", Sullivan said.

“Obviously theres more at stake when its the final game, ” said Carlyle, who won the Cup in 2007 but hasnt won a Game 7 since 2006. "Now it boils down to one".

Penguins fans, now you can start to play this card. "We just kept going".

THE EASTER EPIC: Technically, Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division semifinals began on April 18. Trotz doesn't think it'll have anything to do with history.

For one thing, even with good management, they'll likely lose a chunk of their talent surplus.

- The Penguins have plenty of players who have played in, and won, Game 7s in the postseason. In beating the New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist to put Ottawa up 3-2 in the series, Turris joined Devin Setoguchi, Martin St. Louis, Niclas Wallin, Danny Gare, Rene Robert and Mel Hill in the record books and passed Daniel Alfredsson for the most in franchise history. Based on (Monday) night I dont see any reason why they wont.”.

Down by two goals heading into a third period on home ice with a chance to win the series, one may have expected a strong push back from the Penguins.

"Since Game 3, we've had a sense of calmness about what we're doing", Washington head coach Barry Trotz said.

"When you go in like that, it just kind of knocked the wind out of me". Crosby went down - or, as the National Hockey League would argue, sideways - in the first period of Game 6, banging his head against the boards then hitting the ice. There's also some confusion over what happened because Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby was never tested for a concussion, while the center himself said he passed concussion protocol. Yeo said. "You don't have your Colorados and Detroits anymore with the physical play". The Penguins forward leads all scorers with 18 points and when Crosby went down with an injury in Game 3 nearly singlehandedly carried the Penguins to victory. Obviously, [Monday] was the result that we wanted.

Fleury had stopped 133 of 142 shots through four games, making a mockery out of the core fundamental of hockey that having the puck more and putting it on net leads to success.

If the Capitals have found a hole on the goaltender's glove side they're not saying. That's changed drastically as Washington has piled up the good chances (and goals) lately. The Penguins are beat up, they're exhausted (they have played more games in the last 365 days than any other team still playing in the playoffs) and as cliché as it is, it's awfully hard to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs. The Caps are third from the bottom at 46.5 percent.

AP Hockey Writer Greg Beacham and AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed.