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Sidney Crosby out for Game 4 with concussion

Sidney Crosby out for Game 4 with concussion

PITTSBURGH—Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion and will be sidelined for at least one game, Coach Mike Sullivan said on Tuesday.

“We will evaluate him from there,” Sullivan added.

The loss is a huge blow for a Penguins’ team already beset by injuries and could signal a major momentum shift in their second round series against the Capitals. Pittsburgh saw its series lead cut to 2-1 on Monday night after falling 3-2 in overtime.

Game 4 is Wednesday at PP Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

RELATED: Trotz not surprised of NHL's Niskanen decision

The defending champs entered the postseason already without their top defenseman, Kris Letang, who is sidelined until next season with a neck injury. They’re also without goalie Matt Murray.

And now this.

Crosby, who has a history of concussions and missed six games earlier this season due to one, is by far the Penguins’ most important player and, to this point, has had a great postseason. Crosby currently ranks third in points with four goals and seven assists in seven-plus games.

The two-time MVP and 2016-17 Hart Trophy finalist was injured early in Game 3 when he was cross-checked in the head by Matt Niskanen. The Capitals defenseman was assessed a major penalty and ejected. Niskanen, however, avoided further discipline from the NHL for the controversial hit.

Sullivan also announced that Conor Sheary has been diagnosed with a concussion. Sheary was injured when he collided with teammate Patric Hornqvist on Monday. He skated on his own Tuesday prior to the Penguins’ team practice.

Crosby did not skate and the question now becomes how long will he be out? Given his long history of head injuries—he missed large parts of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons due to concussions—it’s possible that it could be a while.

On Tuesday though, Sullivan said Crosby was in good form.

“He’s very upbeat and positive,” Sullivan said. “We’re very optimistic and hopeful we’ll have him back in a timely fashion.”

But how timely? Pittsburgh has overcome a litany of injuries this season but at some point the cumulative effect figures to be too much for them to bear. 

MORE CAPITALS: NHL will not suspend Niskanen for hit on Crosby

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Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

The odds have never gone the way of the Washington Capitals.

After years of being the common pick to finally break through and win the Stanley Cup, this was most definitely not the year.

Yet, here we are with the Capitals as one of the final two teams standing.

For their upcoming Stanley Cup Final, the Caps are the underdogs against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.  The opening line from OddsShark has the Golden Knights as -135 money line favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals were listed as +115 underdogs.

Vegas (the betting entity, not the team) has not exactly been the most reliable this year though. After all, the Golden Knights were 100/1 odds to win the whole thing. Now they are four games away.

In their past two series, Washington was not the favorites. The Capitals have not been favorites since the First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

For years in the Alex Ovechkin era, they have been the favorites to not only go on to play for the Stanley Cup but winning it.

In 2018 they started the season tied for the fifth best odds to win the Cup (14/1), one of their lowest opening marks in the past decade. For the full perspective, Washington was tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and behind the Dallas Stars at the start of the season.

Without question this underdog role has fit them quite well, they shouldn’t want anything to change heading into the biggest postseason series in 20 years for Washington D.C.

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How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

It wasn't supposed to happen.

The Capitals celebrated too hard after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Second Round. The Tampa Bay Lightning had been here before. Tampa Bay's roster was deeper. Their goalie was hotter. They had home ice advantage. They had easily won their first two series. Nicklas Backstrom was still injured. Washington wouldn't be able to stop the Lightning's power play.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

For all of those reasons, many did not even give the Caps a chance. Washington overcame every obstacle in their way and was, for the most part, the better team through seven games defeating Tampa Bay to win the Eastern Conference for just the second time in franchise history.

The Capitals showed in their second-round win over the Penguins that these weren't the "same old Caps." They continued to prove that in the conference final when they stunned the Lightning to win Game 1 and Game 2 both on the road.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

When Washington lost the next three, many thought that meant the real Lightning had awoken, but it was the Caps who rose to the occasion in Game 6 and Game 7 where they face elimination as they completely dominated Tampa Bay by a combined score of 7-0.

The Caps now advance to take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. The Knights have lost only three games this entire postseason and will hope to carry that momentum with them into Game 1.

If there is one thing this Washington team has proven, however, it's that you should never count them out.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

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