PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Alex Kovalev and Arron Asham scored third-period goals 18 seconds apart and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first-round playoff opener on Wednesday night.
Chris Kunitz sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute in the Penguins’ first post-season game in their new arena. Brooks Orpik had two assists.
Fleury earned his fifth playoff shutout, one short of tying Tom Barrasso’s franchise record.
The Lightning were held scoreless following a regular season in which they finished second in the Eastern Conference with 247 goals. Fifth-seeded Tampa Bay is in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Game 2 is Friday at Pittsburgh.
WASHINGTON (AP)—Alexander Semin scored at 18:24 of overtime and Washington rallied for a win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoff series.
Semin took a centring pass from Jason Arnott, after the Rangers failed to clear the puck out of their end, and scored with a one-timer past Henrik Lundqvist.
New York defenceman Matt Gilroy broke a scoreless tie with a one-timer 1:56 into the third period, and Alex Ovechkin tied it during an intense poke-at-the-puck scramble at the crease with 6:16 left in regulation.
Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves to win his NHL playoff debut. Lundqvist stopped 31 shots.
Game 2 is Friday night in Washington.
DETROIT (AP)—Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored midway through the second period to put Detroit ahead, and the Red Wings went on to beat Phoenix in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler padded Detroit’s lead late in the second period and early in the third.
Jimmy Howard made 26 saves for the third-seeded Red Wings.
Kyle Turris scored 2:16 in to put Phoenix ahead in his playoff debut. Radim Vrbata had a goal midway through the third period to pull the sixth-seeded Coyotes within two goals, but they couldn’t get any closer.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period, but gave up three goals on 17 shots in the second. He finished with 32 saves.
Game 2 is Saturday in Detroit.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves, and Nashville clamped down defensively on high-flying Anaheim in a playoff series opening victory.
Steve Sullivan got his first goal since mid-December, and captain Shea Weber also scored for the fifth-seeded Predators, who got off to a great grinding start as they attempt to win a playoff series for the first time in six tries over seven seasons.
Teemu Selanne scored during a two-man advantage with 8:36 to play for the fourth-seeded Ducks, whose late-season offensive surge was no match for the imposing Rinne and Nashville’s defensive style.
Game 2 is Friday at Anaheim.
VANCOUVER (AP)—Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen scored in the first period, Roberto Luongo made 32 saves, and Vancouver beat Chicago in the playoff opener.
Corey Crawford made 31 saves in his first playoff start as Chicago opened its defence of the Stanley Cup with a loss.
The Canucks are the top seed in the Western Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy winners, but the Blackhawks aren’t the average No. 8 seed. Chicago knocked the Canucks out of the playoffs the previous two seasons and was formidable again in Game 1.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hit the post twice in the second period, Michael Frolik rang a shot off the iron with 7:30 left, and Luongo was forced to make a couple of tough saves to keep Chicago off the board.
Vancouver will hostGame 2 of the series on Friday.