Kunitz: Niskanen's hit on Crosby was deliberate

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kunitz was less than impressed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward called out Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen after his hard cross-check ended the night early for Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

"It's obviously gut-wrenching," Kunitz told Tom Gulitti of NHL.com. "A guy that is the best player in the world playing in his prime, just dominating game, it's one of those things that you look at it once and you see what actually happened and I think the next thing is watching how deliberate it was when the guy cross-checks him in the face."

Crosby left the game at the 5:24 mark of the first period. Niskanen was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct on the play.

Kunitz added, "I thought all of that was kind of out of this league, but I guess not."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan wasn't nearly as adamant, at least publicly, as the veteran forward. Asked about the hit, Sullivan told Devin Heroux of CBC News, "I'd rather not share my opinion," adding, "It really doesn't matter what either coach's opinion is on it."

The Capitals took Game 3 with a 3-2 overtime victory and will have a chance to even the series Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Kunitz: Niskanen's hit on Crosby was deliberate
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