Thu May 14 02:20am EDT
In a Game 7 on the road in Washington, the first goal was going to be critical; Sidney broke through on the power play in the first period, and then eight seconds later it was 2-0. But his signature moment of the night was in the third period. Brooks Laich(notes) carelessly high-sticked him, earning a double minor; the crowd started a mocking chant about the Penguins' captain in protest. That was until Crosby scored an unassisted breakaway goal to finish Pittsburgh's scoring in its 6-2 victory, eliminating the Washington Capitals from the postseason. He now has 12 goals in the postseason, and has elevated his game to championship levels.
Great when the Penguins needed him to be in Game 7 with 19 saves. As was mentioned by Bruce Boudreau and by Crosby in the postgame press conferences, Fleury's glove save on Alexander Ovechkin(notes) three minutes into the game was a turning point, especially in keeping Ovechkin and the Capitals off the board first.
The Penguins grinder scored arguably the most important goal of the game eight seconds after Crosby opened the scoring. Brooks Orpik(notes) dumped in the puck and Capitals defenseman Brian Pothier(notes) attempted to knock it out of the zone. It didn't make it; instead, Ruslan Fedotenko(notes) snagged the puck, passed it Adams and he put it past Simeon Varlamov(notes) for a stunning 2-0 lead. Adams ended up tied for second on the Pens with four shots on goal in Game 7.
Major Penalty: The Adams goal was a killer, but it was the two goals to start the second period that all but pulled the plug on the Capitals' season. Arguments can be made that the defense let Varlamov down, but the rookie goalie didn't have his stuff tonight and his head wasn't in the game when Kris Letang(notes) beat him on a scorcher (tm, Mike Emrick) for Goal No. 4. Jose Theodore(notes) began and finished the postseason for the Caps; no one thought that would have been possible heading into this game
Minor Penalty: The injury news is already leaking out about Capitals players. But Mike Green(notes) played so poorly in Game 7 that Boudreau pulled him from the ice in the third period. Alexander Semin(notes), after a brief revival in Game 6, was a minus-2 and failed to tally a goal against the Penguins in the series. Dead wood indeed.
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Johan Franzen(notes), Red Wings; 3. Patrick Kane(notes), Chicago Blackhawks; 4. Tim Thomas(notes), Boston Bruins; 5. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Red Wings; 6. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Ducks; 7. Eric Staal(notes), Hurricanes; 8. Dave Bolland(notes), Blackhawks; 9. Jonas Hiller(notes), Anaheim Ducks; 10. Marc Savard(notes), Boston Bruins