Penguins fall in playoff opener
PITTSBURGH – Erik Karlsson and Chris Kelly scored on power plays in the second period and the Ottawa Senators ignored their underdog tag and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ recent playoff success, surprising the Stanley Cup champions with a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Wednesday night.
Evgeni Malkin scored twice following penalties on Peter Regin, the first barely 3 minutes into the game, but the Penguins looked mostly flat and uninspired.
Sidney Crosby, who piled up 15 points in his final five regular-season games, had three assists but didn’t get a shot until the third period and the Penguins – seemingly unprepared for Ottawa’s defensive pressure – were held to a single shot during a stretch lasting 21 minutes, 53 seconds. Ottawa constantly matched shutdown defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips against the Crosby line.
Kelly also had two assists, and Regin, Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil added goals for Ottawa. Craig Adams and Alex Goligoski also scored for Pittsburgh.
Flyers 2, Devils 1
NEWARK, N.J. – Brian Boucher had 23 saves in his first playoff start in eight years and Philadelphia beat New Jersey in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series.
Chris Pronger and Mike Richards scored second-period goals, and the Flyers rode the momentum of claiming the NHL’s last playoff berth on the final day of the regular season to yet another win over New Jersey.
While the Flyers are the No. 7 seed in the conference, they won five of six games against the Devils in the regular season and second-seeded New Jersey had few answers in the postseason against a rock-solid Boucher.
New Jersey gave its unhappy fans some hope when Travis Zajac scored on a somewhat flubbed slap shot that seemed to bounce in front of Boucher with 2:43 to play.
Boucher, however, stopped Patrik Elias in close with about 10 seconds to go and the Flyers cleared the puck out of the zone on the ensuing faceoff.
Coyotes 3, Red Wings 2
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Derek Morris broke a tie early in the third period and assisted on two other power-play goals in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in Game 1 of the Western Conference series Wednesday night.
Keith Yandle and Wojtek Wolski also scored, and Ilya Bryzgalov made 38 saves to help the Coyotes win a playoff game for the first time since April 20, 2002, the last year they were in the postseason.
The Coyotes are the better seed in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 first-round matchup, but lack the postseason experience of the Red Wings, in the playoffs for the 19th straight year.