Pittsburgh Penguins were dealt another setback in their hunt for the second consecutive Stanley Cup. Already missing goalkeeper Matt Murray and defenseman Kris Letang, the reigning champions will have to cope without their number one forward as well.
Penguins’ captain, this season’s Hart Memorial Trophy & Ted Lindsey Award finalist Sidney Crosby left the ice early in the game, after receiving a double blow to the head from Alex Ovechin and Matt Niskanen. Crosby was seemingly shaken and disoriented after being helped up and it was later confirmed he had suffered another concussion, and out indefinitely.
Without any further information, and with Crosby’s history with head injury, it’s likely the superstar will be out for the season.
The Penguins have done well in absence of their star caliber players before, but losing Crosby in a series against heavy favorites Capitals hurts more than the statistics might indicate.
Penguins defeated the Capitals in first two games played in Washington, but lost in overtime when the series moved to Pittsburgh. Game four is likely to be the deciding one between these two Eastern Conference favorites.
Tonight’s game 4 was deemed extremely even matched in the simulations – before Crosby went out. The home team had a 50.4% probability to grab the victory, scoring 3.4 goals on average with Crosby notching at least one point with 58% certainty.
Without Crosby, Penguins will score only 3.2 goals, hindering their chances of a third W in the series to 48.2%.
Still possessing the home advantage, tonight’s game 4 is almost a must win for the Penguins.
In Washington, there was only a 39.2% probability for the Penguins stealing another win. Without Crosby, their chances are limited to 35.4%.
Despite their remarkable feat of winning two games on the road to start the series and a sufficient depth of roster they’ve shown so far, Penguins are not able to replace arguably the best player in the NHL.