Play­off roundup: Fleury sur­prise star as Pen­guins open de­fence


PITTS­BURGH— Marc-An­dre Fleury stopped 31 shots in a sur­prise start in place of in­jured Matt Mur­ray and the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins opened their Stan­ley Cup ti­tle de­fence with a 3-1 vic­tory over the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets on Wed­nes­day.

Mur­ray was sched­uled to get the nod in the play­off opener but was a late scratch af­ter suf­fer­ing a lower­body in­jury dur­ing warm-ups. Fleury with­stood an early push by Colum­bus, and the Pen­guins re­sponded by pulling away from the untested Blue Jack­ets.

Phil Kes­sel had a goal and an as­sist for Pitts­burgh. Nick Bonino and Bryan Rust also scored, and Ev­geni Malkin as­sisted on Rust’s and Kes­sel’s goals in his first game back af­ter miss­ing the fi­nal three weeks of the reg­u­lar sea­son be­cause of an up­per-body in­jury.

Matt Calvert scored for Colum­bus in the third pe­riod, and Sergei Bo­brovsky made 26 saves. Game 2 is Fri­day night in Pitts­burgh. The Blue Jack­ets, mak­ing just their third play­off ap­pear­ance in fran­chise his­tory, in­sisted they wouldn’t be over­come by the stakes or the stage. For a long stretch at the start, they weren’t. Colum­bus out­shot Pitts­burgh 16-3 in first pe­riod, pep­per­ing Fleury and hog­ging the puck.

Fleury’s steady play helped Pitts­burgh sur­vive and it took just 3:45 for the Pen­guins to re­assert their dom­i­nance.

Bru­ins 2 Se­na­tors 1: Brad Marchand scored the win­ner late in the third pe­riod as Bos­ton beat Ot­tawa in Game 1 of their Eastern Con­fer­ence quar­ter-fi­nal.

Frank Va­trano, play­ing his first NHL play­off game, also scored for the Bru­ins. Tuukka Rask was solid, mak­ing 26 saves. Bobby Ryan scored the lone goal for the Se­na­tors as Craig An­der­son stopped 23 shots.

Marchand scored on the re­bound of a Pa­trice Berg­eron shot with 2:33 re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion to make it 2-1, shock­ing the sell­out crowd of 18,702 at the Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre. Trail­ing 1-0 and not hav­ing reg­is­tered a shot since the first pe­riod, the Bru­ins had two quick ones and made the sec­ond one count as Va­trano beat An­der­son from the high slot to tie the game at 4:55 of the third.

Bos­ton was out­shot 12-0 in the sec­ond pe­riod.

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