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Did Evgeni Malkin guarantee a Game 7 win for Pittsburgh?

Did Evgeni Malkin guarantee a Game 7 win for Pittsburgh?

Think the momentum is on the Capitals’ side after winning two straight games to force Game 7? Think again says Evgeni Malkin.

After what was dominating loss on Monday, Malkin was defiant going so far as to say Washington would not win Game 7.

“They think they won an easy game tonight,” Malkin said following Monday’s game. “They think they can win Game 7. I say, ‘No.’

Mark Messier, he is not.

"We have a great team,” Malkin continued. “I believe in my team. We need to understand that we’ve been in Game 7 before. We need to play the same. First period is really important. Be ready.”

You can of course file this one under the “what is he supposed to say” category, but with Game 7 on the horizon it may prove to be some good bulletin board material for Washington.

RELATED: Backstrom playing himself into Caps' all-time discussion

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Evgeny Kuznetsov leaves game after taking an elbow to the head

Evgeny Kuznetsov leaves game after taking an elbow to the head

About midway through the first period, Kuznetsov skated towards the boards when he was hit in the head with an elbow by Brandon Tanev. Kuznetsov was not looking and Tanev clearly raised the elbow for the high hit. He was assessed a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head. Kuznetsov left for the locker room.

Kuznetsov was not on the bench for the start of the second period and it was announced soon after that he would not return due to an upper-body injury. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

Kuznetsov was just another in a long list of injuries the team suffered for Wednesday’s game. Pheonix Copley got the surprise start in Winnipeg as it was announced prior to the start that Braden Holtby would not dress due to an upper-body injury. Michal Kempny was also out of the lineup due to an illness. He is considered day-to-day.

A hit to the head that caused an injury to Kuznetsov calls into question whether any supplementary discipline will be coming for Brandon Tanev. The hit cannot be deemed anything but intentional and avoidable and it also caused an injury. 

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Pheonix Copley to start in Winnipeg as Braden Holtby out with upper-body injury

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Pheonix Copley to start in Winnipeg as Braden Holtby out with upper-body injury

Braden Holtby will miss Wednesday’s game in Winnipeg due to an upper-body injury which will give Pheonix Copley his second start in as many nights. The team will also dress an emergency backup for the game. Isabelle Khurshudyan was the first to report the news.

In addition, Michal Kempny will miss Wednesday’s game as well due to an illness. He is considered day-to-day. Jonas Siegenthaler will get into the lineup for his second NHL game.

Pheonix Copley started Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He turned aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced for a .929 save percentage in the win.

It is unclear when the injury to Holtby occurred. Copley was a surprise start in Tuesday’s game, but if the team suspected Holtby could miss Wednesday, recalls from Hershey could have been made prior to now which would have prevented the need for an emergency backup.

The backup for the Capitals will be Gavin McHale, the goaltending coach for the women’s team at the University of Manitoba. McHale, 31, is in his second season at UM and is listed by the website Elite Prospects as 6-feet 7-inches. The last time he played competitively was in 2014-15 with the Warren Mecs of the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League. This is not the first time he has been called upon in the NHL as he was an emergency NHL backup in the past for the Colorado Avalanche in February.

Depending on the length of Holtby’s issue, a call-up for either Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek could be a possibility. Vanecek has been out with an upper-body injury meaning Samsonov would be the most likely candidate should the Caps need him.

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