Concussed Crosby skates with Penguins, no word on return

He did not return to the meeting and must be examined more thoroughly by the team's doctors. While the Capitals lead once again in shots 38-19 - and they lead the series shot total 142-94 - the Penguins kept them out of any high danger areas while Marc-Andre Fleury took care of the rest. After the first-period hit on Monday, I was wondering what Don would say about it, but Rogers and the CBC have him doing the Ottawa-New York series instead. He's not the only Penguin out with a concussion as forward Conor Sheary, 24, suffered the same fate after colliding with teammate Patric Hornqvist, 30, in the second period during game three, leaving his fate for the fourth game against the Caps uncertain. 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.

Just like he did after Crosby left Game 3, I fully expect Malkin to kick it up a notch.

Sadly for the Penguins, so did the Islanders, who won 1-0, marking only the second time in National Hockey League history a team lost a 3-0 series lead. It's a fun time of year.

Even as the Capitals buzzed around, there was no panic in the Penguins. We're talking about the favorites to win the Stanley Cup before the playoffs began. Something like that can happen again.

Then there's the fact that Crosby was skating at the Penguins' training facility Thursday morning.

"We played a solid first period and we came out strong", Zuccarello said. The Penguins will never, ever win the physical battle against the Capitals because they're not built to do that.

Capitals right wing Tom Wilson wasn't born in 1992, so revenge won't be a factor.

"It's a 2-2 series now", Caggiula said.

I've been on the Pittsburgh Penguins this entire series and you have to like them to advance at some point.

"Now especially, more than ever, I've had to rely on him and talk to him about certain things", McDavid said.

Maybe that was why he didn't exactly blame the referee who made a mistake that many of us were fooled on when it happened in real time. Most supportive was fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov, who predicted a bounce-back for Ovechkin in Game 5. "I'm good with the call on the ice, the referees did the appropriate thing calling the penalty, and once the injury was serious, the rule prescribes at that point a major and game misconduct would be assessed". "Make it hard on them, make them a little nervous and, hopefully, come back and win this thing".

"A lot of it was reaction to certain matchups we were looking for on the bench", Sullivan said. If Sullivan really wants to spread the scoring ability up and down his lineup, that would mean breaking up the productive Kessel-Malkin partnership, but it would put the Penguins' three biggest scoring threats (those two plus Jake Guentzel) on three different lines.

"We've got a good hockey team here", Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters Tuesday. Perhaps the 2014 experience will help. "So we have to wrap our arms around the reality of that".