NO CROSBY, NO PROBLEM
PENGUINS TAKE 3-1 SERIES LEAD,
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.