NHL playoffs 2017: Sidney Crosby’s head-first crash reignites concussion policy scrutiny

When it comes to concussion science, experts caution smaller, subsequent blows to the head often do more long-term damage to athletes’ brains than the initial injury.

Much ado was made of Crosby’s shotless Game 3 and he had the look of a man on a mission in the first period.

But in Nashville, nothing went the Penguins’ way — in stark contrast from Games 1 and 2. Here, Pekka Rinne has resembled the Conn Smythe contender he was billed as before the series, adding 23 saves to improve to 9-1 at home in these playoffs.

Rookie center Frederick Gaudreau, with 11 NHL games and no goals to his name before the series, scored his third of the Final, the only Predators player to find the net more than once against the Penguins.

That goal, which came 3:45 into the second period, stood as the game winner, Gaudreau’s second in three days.

For Rinne’s best act yet, he stopped a flurry of three shots in a span of three seconds midway through the second period to preserve what was at the time a 2-1 Predators lead. His last was the most jaw-dropping as he lunged into the crease to stop a puck inches from te goal line.

By the time the dust settled in Thursday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins emerged with a 6-0 victory — in large part thanks to Sidney Crosby and the energized play of a few Cycling Cheap Jerseys other Cheap Youth NHL Jerseys previously slumping stars — and find themselves on the cusp of defending their championship from a year ago.

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