Pittsburgh 3 – Tampa Bay 0
Alex Kovalev and Arron Asham scored twice in the third period in a span of 18 seconds and Marc Andre Fleury made 32 saves to record his 5th career playoff shutout, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to an opening game 3-0 victory to take a 1-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the best-of-seven series.
Chris Kunitz added an empty net goal as the Penguins outscored the Lightning 3-0 in the third period.
Fleury was excellent in the first period, making 14 saves as Tampa Bay pushed the tempo early on but the Penguins wore Tampa Bay down in the final forty minutes and pulled away in the third.
Kovalev got the Penguins rolling in the third, putting home a cross ice pass from James Neal for his 45th career playoff goal at 6:05 of the period.
18 seconds later Arron Asham made a great individual play, scoring a wrap around goal at 6:23 of the period to give the Penguins a commanding 2-0 lead. Asham’s goal appeared to take everything out of the Lightning. It was Asham’s 7th career playoff goal.
The Penguins were 0-for-6 on the power play but did some good things, putting up 6 shots on an early second period power play.
Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 37 saves in the loss. Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 40-32 in the game.
The Penguins performed well in the faceoff circle, winning 32 of 60 draws.
Marc Andre Fleury’s 5th career shutout pulls him within one of Tom Barrasso’s franchise best 6 playoff shutouts.
Fleury was named the games No. 1 star. Kovalev (1G) was the second star and Jordan Staal (1 assist) was the games No. 3 star.
Alex Kovalev’s third period goal was his 99th career playoff point.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma became the franchise leader in playoff wins, collecting his 24th career playoff win.
With tonight’s loss, the Lightning fell to 0-5 in opening series games on the road.
Pittsburgh has 38 post-season wins since 2008, the most in the NHL.
Game 2 is Friday night.