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.