Sidney Crosby scored a natural hat trick, Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel each scored once and the Pittsburgh Penguins dispatched the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
Guentzel also added three assists for the Penguins, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Flyers came out flat and never posed a serious threat as they struggled in the first game on the road.
Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliott, who returned from a core muscle injury to play the final two regular-season games, didn’t fare well and saved only 14 of 19 shots before being pulled for backup Petr Mrazek.
Matt Murray got the start in goal for the Penguins and stopped all 24 shots in the shutout win.
The Penguins continued their dominance over the Flyers, carrying their momentum from a four-game regular-season sweep into another win in Game 1.
Philadelphia didn’t give up and kept attacking early in the third, eventually drawing a penalty on Kris Letang for slashing Travis Konecny. The Penguins killed off the penalty and maintained their five-goal lead.
Soon after, Crosby notched his second goal and the Penguins took complete control with a 6-0 advantage at 7:41.
Crosby then notched a hat trick — the third of his playoff career — to make it 7-0 Pittsburgh at 10:42.
The Flyers applied some early pressure in the second with shots on goal by Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov. Murray stopped both shots and the good defensive play soon translated into a 4-0 Pittsburgh lead when Guentzel connected on the power play.
After Crosby scored for a 5-0 Penguins lead at 9:01, the Flyers pulled Elliott and replaced him with Mrazek. Crosby’s goal was dazzling as he deflected the puck out of mid air and redirected it past Elliott.
The Penguins dominated through the entire first period as they scored three goals on 15 shots.
Rust struck initially at 2:38 for a 1-0 lead and Hagelin gave them a 2-0 advantage at 10:07.
Malkin pushed the Penguins ahead 3-0 with a spectacular goal at 14:09 as he skated through three Flyers and flipped a backhand shot past Elliott.
On the next rush, Konecny broke free and fired a shot just wide.
The Flyers scuffled through most of the first, going 0-for-2 on the power play while Elliott looked quite shaky in net.
—Field Level Media