The Washington Capitals got back into their series with Pittsburgh last night, beating the Penguins 3-2 in OT. Lost in this win is the controversy involving Penguins captain Sid Crosby and Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen.
With the game scoreless 5;24 into the first period, Crosby took a high stick in the back of the head from Alex Ovechkin (in which no penalty was called). Crosby lost his balance and, as he was falling to the ice, took a crosscheck to the head by Niskanen, who was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.
Not only did this play propel the Capitals to a win, this could very well change the complexion of the series and the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Crosby is out for Game Four and, given his history of concussions, might be out longer.
The real question is, was this an accident or a cheap shot by Niskanen and Ovechkin? I've seen the replay about a dozen times and I doubt that Ovechkin meant to hit Crosby in the head with his stick. Niskanen is a different story. It should be noted that Niskanen spent four years playing with Crosby for the Penguins before signing with Washington in 2014. Having said that, the one thing that I've noticed when watching the replay is Niskanen extending his arms when he cross-checks Crosby.
At the very least Niskanen should be suspended for Game Four, which should be an interesting game in Pittsburgh.