A three-time Cup victor, Williams is 7-0 with seven goals and seven assists in seven chances in Game 7. Reaching into Pittsburgh's collective throat and yanking out its larynx would be none other than the Washington Capitals.
It wasn't that long ago when the Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to be well on their way to eliminating the Washington Capitals in their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.
"We're having fun now", Coach Barry Trotz said. "I think it just knocked the wind out of me but felt fine". More importantly, they limited Pittsburgh's counter attack game until permitting a pair of four-on-four goals in the game's waning minutes. The Penguins have outscored the Capitals 12-3 in winning the previous three Game 7s. Alex is our captain. We just have to put more focus on holding our leads before we end up looking like the Edmonton Oilers. Intent on not repeating history, the Capitals jumped on the defending Stanley Cup champions early and didn't relent. If Fleury has sprung a leak, the Capitals have the talent from Ovechkin down to make him pay. Crosby played 20 mostly ineffective minutes, his most notable sequence coming in the first period when he became tangled with Washington defenseman John Carlson and ended up going headfirst into the end boards. "That's a game we thought we probably should have had". So he can't do that this whole series. Maybe it's compounded with the loss of Trevor Daley (lower-body injury), but without two of their best puck movers, the Penguins too often couldn't get it out of their own zone. The new policy allowed independent "Central League Spotters" monitoring a game via television from the league's Player Safety Room in NY to order a player be removed from a game if he showed "visible signs" of a concussion. "I'm not comfortable that he was allowed to continue playing". "He's made save after save for us". It's also better than any team in the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball. "I think Washington for sure is due to win". When the Caps fell to 3-1 after four games, many were left scratching their heads wondering how could Washington be outshooting Pittsburgh so badly and yet still be losing the series? Yes, the great Derby lead-in unquestionably helped, but it's no surprise that it was a game from this series that was able to pull this kind of rating. Six, including two on the same penalty in Game 6 on Monday. "To a man, we weren't good enough".
The story of the series has been: Washington will outshoot, outhit and command play against Pittsburgh, but Marc-Andre Fleury will steal a win.
Boudreau, who is 1-7 in his National Hockey League coaching career in Game 7 after success in that spot in the minors, thinks goaltending will be the difference.
The Penguins were also given a scare when Sidney Crosby, in only his second game back from a concussion, suffered a bloody nose from a team-mate's stick. He lamented some struggles for his line, but expressed no concerns about his health.
"Yeah, yeah. Pretty standard", Crosby said. "There were some chances there".
"We're going to have to be better", Oshie said.
Wednesday, they get another chance. The Pittsburgh superstar has a history of head injuries, yet he returned to playoff hockey - where the referees swallow their whistles and let "hockey plays" happen with aplomb - to try to win another Stanley Cup. First, there's business to take care of in NY.
"There's no doubt that for me experience, when you have it, is a good thing", Vigneault said on a conference call Sunday.