It would be wise not to read too much into the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
Yes, the Penguins were lethal on the power play, going 4-for-4 against a penalty killing unit that was 32-for-33 in the playoffs coming into the game.
Yes, Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak looked human, allowing five goals on the first 18 shots he faced before being pulled in the third period after stopping 131 of the previous 134 shots the Washington Capitals threw at him in the first round.
But this series will likely turn depending on which of the two star players on either side of the ledger comes out of Friday night's injuries unscathed.
The Canadiens lost their top defenceman Andrei Markov when he was awkwardly thrown into the boards by Penguins agitator Matt Cooke.
And the hit was even clean.
Markov had to be helped off the ice, putting no weight on his right leg as he left.
"(Markov) going down is obviously something you don't want to see going into the second round here," said rookie defenceman P.K. Subban, who filled a lot of the minutes vacated by Markov's absence. "But we have a good group of guys in here, lots of character, and we need to continue to battle."
Subban and Marc-Andre Bergeron - who moved back to defence from forward - were paired together in Markov's absence. To be polite, that's a high-risk pairing, but it worked well, and Subban in particular showed some very nice things once given an opportunity to display his tremendous offensive skill set.
"He's a good hockey player," Bergeron said of his young defence partner. "Whether you're a rookie or not when it's time to do the job you have to do it, and he was excellent tonight."
On the Penguins side of things, any jubilation over a big Game 1 victory was tempered by the sight of Jordan Staal limping off the ice midway through the second period.
Staal was killing a penalty to Max Talbot at the time when he got tangled up with Subban at the blue line. He immediately went to the bench and did not return.
"He's a big part of our team," Sidney Crosby said. "It's not something that is easy to deal with, but that is what you face. There's no sense feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking about it."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma gave no update on the injury or Staal's condition, calling the injury "undisclosed." You can pretty safely bet it's a lower body injury.
"We like having three big centres down the middle and obviously we would have to make an adjustment if he were not able to get back in the lineup Sunday for Game 2," Bylsma said. "We have role-playing centremen to fill that spot, but it would certainly change the match-up situations. Jordan is used against other teams' top lines. So that certainly would be adjusted."
Staal is also used on both special teams units, though he is more of a penalty killer and only plays on the second group on the power play.
That second group didn't see much action in this game because the first unit was so efficient.
The Pens only had 5:17 of power play time on their four opportunities, an average of about 1:30 a shot. Sergei Gonchar's tying goal in the first came 26 seconds after Brian Gionta was called for tripping.
Just like that, the Penguins matched the Capitals total of power play goals for the entire first round.
Bylsma spoke before the game of how his team needed to move the puck quickly and get the Canadiens defenders out of the shooting lanes. A few hours later, his team did exactly what he had asked them to do.
"We probably changed the shooting angle three times before Gonchar shot the puck," Bylsma said. "I thought we did a good job not just blowing shots through guys, but we had our heads up and were conscious of our shooting lanes and we got pucks to the net."
Indeed, the Canadiens blocked only 15 shots after a mammoth effort of 41 blocked shots in Game 7 against Washington on Wednesday.
The Canadiens appeared a little shell-shocked with the sudden 0'fer from the penalty kill unit, but otherwise appeared pretty happy with their game.
"I think overall, besides our penalty kill, we played a pretty strong game against a team we knew would come out fired up," defenceman Josh Gorges said. "At 5-on-5 I thought we played good hockey tonight, we won a lot of battles, we did a lot of good things. We just made a few mental mistakes."
While the Canadiens will want to correct those errors, the future of this series was likely not determined Friday night. It will perhaps come Saturday, or maybe even Sunday, when we find out just how injured Markov and Staal really are.