Penguins star Sidney Crosby has concussion, out for Game 4

And the late-game surge by Pittsburgh could have sunk them.

Crosby was struck in the helmet by the stick of Washington star Alex Ovechkin and was falling off-balance to the ice when he was hit solidly in the head by Niskanen. Niskanen made contact on his way down. Crosby's left leg bent awkwardly as he crumbled to the ice, but it was unclear whether the problem was with the leg, his head, both, or something else. Niskanen skated to the locker room, ejected from the contest with a game misconduct.

Conor Sheary, one of Crosby's wingers on the top line, also exited the game in the second period and did not return.

"Sid has been diagnosed with a concussion", Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters.

"I thought it was the right decision", Trotz said Tuesday morning.

There had been no update on Crosby's status by the time Trotz spoke at the Caps' media availability. "You know it's the best player in the world playing in his prime". While controversy surrounds the play, there is no reason for the Capitals blueliner (and Crosby's former teammate) to face any backlash. "[Crosby] is coming across, [Holtby] throws his stick out there and [Crosby] sort of gets split ... and he just sort of ran into [Niskanen]".

"It's obviously gut-wrenching", Penguins forward Chris Kunitz said of seeing Crosby go down. As he is doing that, he's getting lower and lower. On a personal level I'm upset that it's Crosby, specifically, who is injured again (any big star would draw a similar reaction, but there is no bigger star, and certainly none with a track record to make you fear how long-term this could be). I expect him back in the series. A collision was gonna happen there, in the crease. "I don't think it's a very nice hit". Right about where the numbers are on the side of his jersey. When the team needed the jump start that Crosby so often has given them, no one was there to step up.

Crosby suffered severe hits to the head from Washington's Dave Steckel and Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman within the first five days of 2011, causing concussion symptoms that sidelined Crosby the remainder of the season and playoffs. Then, in warmups before the opening game in their series with Columbus, Pittsburgh lost Matt Murray, the goalie that they would have gone to as their first choice this spring.

The Capitals held a team meeting following an ugly 6-2 loss in Game 2, a setback that dropped the Presidents' Trophy winners into a 2-0 hole against their frequent playoff tormentors and stirred echoes of a series of playoff meltdowns since the franchise broke into the league 43 years ago.

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