Penguins star Crosby leaves following hit to head

The scene brought back jarring memories. Washington's Alex Ovechkin slashed Crosby along the upper body and Crosby slid awkwardly trying to maintain his balance when he collided with Niskanen, who had his stick raised.

The sight of their captain slowly heading to the dressing room on Monday night following a violent cross-check to the jaw from Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen left his teammates shaken.

So Crosby hasn't been ruled out of the series which is good news.

December 5, 2011 - After only eight games back from his concussion, Crosby collides with Boston's David Krejci.

"It's a tough moment for sure", Fleury said. "You know, you care a lot about him". We've been friends for a long time.

Among players with 100 career playoff games, Crosby ranks seventh all time in points per game (1.12).

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby will be evaluated on a daily basis going forward. "We're very optimistic and hopeful we'll get him back in a timely fashion".

The game was scoreless just over 5 minutes into the first period when Crosby skated just outside the Capitals' crease.

Crosby was diagnosed with his third known concussion October 10 sustained during a preseason practice, costing him first six games of this past season. Crosby did not return to the game and the Capitals won in overtime 3-2. Goaltender Matt Murray and defenseman Kris Letang are already out, absences Crosby's brilliance has helped the Penguins overcome.

This, however, is something different. "I don't think it's something that this game is looking for, especially against someone that means so much to our team", Chris Kunitz said. "And we're lucky to have depth on our team".

"I don't think he is a dirty player", Olczyk added.

Niskanen was given a five-minute major penalty and a 10-minute game misconduct.

The league decided against holding a hearing to determine whether the hit should be subject to review from the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz asserted there was nothing sinister involved. With Crosby on the ice, the Penguins were creating 4.9 even-strength goals per 60 minutes in the playoffs, second highest among forwards playing at least 100 postseason minutes in 2017.

If the Senators get past the New York Rangers, they'll face the victor of the increasingly nasty Washington-Pittsburgh series. "It's the playoffs. That's the way we like to play. It doesn't hurt to watch and see what their tendencies are and the way they play". "Hard hits. Going after each other". The Penguins will need him to do it again if they want to survive without Crosby.

"He does things with the puck like no one else", Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist said.