Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Power play powers Penguins in opener

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PITTSBURGH — Paul Martin and Chris Kunitz scored power-play goals, Pascal Dupuis added his playoffs-leading sixth goal and the Penguins beat the Senators 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday.

Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to seven games with a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Tomas Vokoun stopped 35 shots to win his third straight start, and the Penguins never trailed.

"I hope every game we play better," said Malkin, whose team struggled for long stretches in its six-game quarterfinal win against the Islanders. "This game we showed how we can play better in the (defensive) zone. Power play worked, (penalty kill) unbelievable (Ottawa was 0-for-5 on the power play, and Dupuis' goal was short-handed)."

The Penguins are 9-of-24 with the man advantage through seven playoff games, best of the eight teams remaining. The Senators had the NHL's best penalty kill during the regular season and turned aside 16 of 19 power plays against Montreal in the first round.

Ottawa's Kyle Turris drew a high-sticking penalty before the game was 90 seconds old, and barely a minute later, Pittsburgh jumped in front.

Malkin worked his way into the corner, then threaded a pass between two defenders to Martin at the point. Martin's slap shot deflected off Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen and scooted past Craig Anderson 2:41 in.

The Senators tied it 2:20 later but Malkin responded with his third goal of the playoffs at 12:15 for a 2-1 lead.

Senators rookie forward Cory Conacher, acquired at the trade deadline from the Lightning for goalie Ben Bishop, said Ottawa just needed to capitalize on more of its opportunities.

"If we had done that, it might have been a different story on the scoreboard," he said. "I think we proved to ourselves that we can beat this team."

Ottawa lost all three of its regular-season games against Pittsburgh.

Ovechkin suggests game fixed: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin suggested referees favored the Rangers in Game 6 of their East quarterfinal, a game in which Washington didn't have a power play, so there would be a seventh game.

"How can there be no penalties at all (on one team) during the playoffs?" Ovechkin said in a Russian-language interview with Russia's Sport-Express, translated by Yahoo Sports, after the Capitals lost Game 7 on Monday. "I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit."

The Rangers had five power plays in Game 6 and won 1-0 on an even-strength goal.

Stars fire coach: Dallas fired coach Glen Gulutzan after two seasons, an expected move by new general manager Jim Nill for a franchise that has missed the playoffs a record five straight seasons. The dismissal came about two weeks after Nill replaced Joe Nieuwendyk, who was fired after four seasons.

Masterton finalists: The Penguins' Sidney Crosby, the Wild's Josh Harding and the Bruins' Adam McQuaid are the finalists for the Masterton Trophy, presented to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. It is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

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First Period1, Pitts, Martin 2 (Malkin, Morrow), 2:41 (pp). 2, Ott, Greening 1 (Condra, Cowen), 4:51. 3, Pitts, Malkin 3 (Kunitz, Neal), 12:15. PenaltiesTurris, Ott (high-sticking), 1:12; Kennedy, Pit (holding), 14:03; Gryba, Ott (holding), 17:48; Malkin, Pit (tripping), 18:10.

Second Period4, Pitts, Kunitz 3 (Iginla, Letang), 18:33 (pp). PenaltiesNeal, Pit (roughing), 8:37; Conacher, Ott (holding), 17:57.

Third Period5, Pitts, Pa.Dupuis 6 (Murray), 11:24 (sh). PenaltiesConacher, Ott (cross-checking), 8:04; Letang, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:04; Neal, Pit (holding), 10:19; Neal, Pit (interference), 12:58; Neil, Ott, misconduct, 19:31; Z.Smith, Ott, double minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:31; Cowen, Ott (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:31; Conacher, Ott (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:31; Morrow, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:31; Engelland, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:31; Vitale, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:31. Shots on GoalOtt 14-12-10—36. Pitts 12-12-6—30. Power-play opportunitiesOtt 0 of 5; Pitts 2 of 4. GoaliesOtt, Anderson 4-2-0 (30 shots-26 saves). Pitts, Vokoun 3-0-0 (36-35).

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