x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins thrash Ottawa Senators in Game 1

The No 1 seeds win on the back of Evgeni Malkin's goal and an assist. And Los Angeles Kings shut San Jose Sharks out 2-0.

Evgeni Malkin, right, was one of the heroes for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1. Gene J Puskar / AP Photo
Evgeni Malkin, right, was one of the heroes for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1. Gene J Puskar / AP Photo

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist and Tomas Vokoun recorded his third straight win since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 in the opener of their second-round NHL series.

Russian forward Malkin, who had a point in all six games of the Penguins' first-round series win over the New York Islanders, pushed his play-off point total to 13 in seven games so far.

Backup Vokoun, of the Czech Republic, took over from starting goaltender Fleury for game five against New York. He finished with 35 stops on Tuesday in front of a crowd of 18,621 at the Consol Energy Center arena.

"This game showed we can play better in the defensive zone," Malkin said. "The power play worked and the penalty kill was unbelievable."

The Canadian Chris Kunitz also notched a goal and an assist, and Paul Martin and Pascal Dupuis scored singles for the Penguins, who finished two-for-four on the power play and also had a short-handed goal.

Colin Greening scored the only goal for Ottawa, who were coming off an physical and emotionally-draining five-game series victory over rival Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

Game 2 of this series is scheduled for Friday in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh's Martin and Senators' Greening traded goals in the first few minutes of the opening period to make it 1-1.

But it was all Pittsburgh from there, as the Penguins scored three unanswered goals, starting with Malkin's tally at 12:15 of the first.

Pittsburgh's power play struck again late in the second when Kunitz scored from in close, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead that they would take into the start of the third.

Canadian forward Dupuis faked a pass to Matt Cooke on a two-on-one break before beating Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson over the right shoulder to give the Penguins a commanding three-goal lead with 8:36 remaining.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, goaltender Jonathan Quick put in a stellar performance to help the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks.

LA goalie Quick made 35 saves in his sixth career play-off shut-out, negating the Sharks' superior speed and passing.

"We wanted to get off on a good foot, no matter how we had to do it," Quick said after his 25th career play-off victory, one shy of Kelly Hrudey's franchise record. "We got better during this game, but we've got some work to do."

Slava Voynov and Mike Richards each had a goal and an assist in the Stanley Cup winners' 11th straight victory at Staples Center since March, but the Kings' win rested squarely on Quick, who delivered yet another dominant playoff performance.

Quick yielded just 10 goals in the six-game first round against St. Louis before frustrating the Sharks.

"We didn't have our best first period, and it could have got out of reach quickly if Quickie wasn't back there making some big saves," said Richards, the Kings' leading postseason scorer. "You could just tell he was seeing the puck well."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE