The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JASON MACKEY

PITTS­BURGH — The same mes­sage was re­peated at ev­ery stall inside the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins dress­ing room from the moment it was an­nounced that cap­tain Sid­ney Crosby had a con­cus­sion and would be out for an un­de­ter­mined amount of time.

We’ve been through this all year, Pen­guins play­ers were re­minded. There are ca­pa­ble peo­ple here. Plenty of of­fen­sive ta­lent, too. Fo­cus on Game 4. Look for­ward. No ex­cuses. Just play.

The Pen­guins put that mind­set — drilled into them daily by coach Mike Sul­li­van — into prac­tice Wed­nes­day dur­ing a 3-2 win over the Cap­i­tals in Game 4 of their Na­tional Hockey League best-of-seven East­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries.

In the process, the Pen­guins grabbed a 3-1 ad­van­tage in the se­ries with a chance to clinch Satur­day in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Pa­tric Horn­qvist, Jake Guentzel and Justin Schultz scored goals, while Marc-An­dré Fleury stopped 36 of 38 shots.

With­out Crosby and with some new com­bi­na­tions up front, the Pen­guins adopted a more con­ser­va­tive style. Wash­ing­ton fin­ished with a 38-18 edge in shots on goal, but the Pen­guins held a lead en­ter­ing the third and didn’t let it slip away.

Fleury was ter­rific yet again for the Pen­guins in earn­ing his 60th ca­reer post-sea­son win. A key moment came in the third pe­riod, around the 9:10 mark, when Lars Eller cut across the slot, and Fleury used his right pad for the stop and also de­nied Eller’s re­bound stuff.

After al­low­ing a pair of power-play goals in Game 3, the Pen­guins also won the spe­cial teams bat­tle.


Pen­guins’ Pa­tric Horn­qvist scores past Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals goalie Braden Holtby in Pitts­burgh on Wed­nes­day night. Pitts­burgh, mi­nus Sid­ney Crosby due to a con­cus­sion, didn’t miss a beat, down­ing Wash­ing­ton, 3-2, to take a 3-1 lead in the East­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries.

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