NHL·NHL PLAYOFFS ROUNDUP

Malkin tips in triple-OT winner as Penguins best Rangers in marathon of series-opener

Evgeni Malkin scored on a deflection 5:58 into the third overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

Capitals rally to defeat Panthers; Avalanche overwhelm Predators in blowout win

Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin (71) scored on a deflection 5:58 into the third overtime of Pittsburgh's 4-3 game one win over the Rangers in first round Stanley Cup playoff action on Tuesday in New York. (Adam Hunger/The Associated Press)

Evgeni Malkin scored on a deflection 5:58 into the third overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night in New York.

Jake Guentzel scored twice and Bryan Rust had a goal and two assists for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby also had two assists. Casey DeSmith had 48 saves before leaving the game midway through the second overtime. Louis Domingue, who appeared in only two games during the regular season, came on and had 17 saves.

On the winning goal, Malkin was positioned in front of the net when he tipped a long shot by John Marino over Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Crosby now has 124 assists in the playoffs, passing Jaromir Jagr for ninth place on the NHL's career list.

Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist, and Adam Fox and Andrew Copp also scored for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad had two assists. Shesterkin finished with 79 saves, second to the NHL record of 85 saves by Columbus' Joonas Korpisalo in the 2020 playoffs.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night in New York before shifting to Pittsburgh for two games.

Avalanche cruise past Predators for victory

Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews scored 22 seconds apart in a five-goal first period, sending the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

The five goals tied the team playoff record for a period and chased Nashville's backup goaltender David Rittich from the game with 4:56 remaining in the first. Rittich was stepping in for 38-game winner Juuse Saros, who's sidelined with a lower-body injury.

Andrew Cogliano, Cale Makar and Artturi Lehkonen also scored in the first. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog built the lead to 6-0 when he was credited for a goal in the second period. He was making his return from knee surgery that had sidelined him since mid-March.

MacKinnon scored his second goal of the game in the third period and, coupled with an assist, raised his playoff points per game average to 1.41. It trails only Wayne Gretzky (1.84) and Mario Lemieux (1.61), with a minimum of 40 games.

Matt Duchene scored twice for Nashville. Darcy Kuemper finished with 23 saves.

Game 2 is Thursday, which also happens to be Kuemper's 32nd birthday.

Since moving to Denver, the Avalanche boast a 17-6 record in best-of-seven playoff series when they win the first game. On the flip side, the Predators are 0-7 when starting a best-of-seven series with a road loss.

Colorado scored virtually every way imaginable: On a power play (MacKinnon), short-handed (Cogliano), opposing player kicking it in (Landeskog got the credit for a puck knocked in by defenceman Mark Borowiecki) and, of course, even strength (Toews, Makar, Lehkonen and MacKinnon again).

The Avalanche outshot the Predators by a 45-25 margin.

Things turned chippy after the horn to end the second period. Philip Tomasino got into it with Lehkonen. Close by, Luke Kunin shoved down Nazem Kadri, who got a shot in before being pulled away.

In the third period, the game got even more chippy with Mathieu Olivier drawing a misconduct penalty.

Cogliano scored his first goal for the Avalanche since being acquired from San Jose on March 21. He took advantage of a Mattias Ekholm turnover with the Predators on the power play and lined it in through a small window.

Cogliano later left the game with an upper-body injury.

The sleek move of the game was turned in by Makar, who zipped around Tanner Jeannot with a nifty move near the blue line, skated down the left side and banked in a shot off the mask of Rittich.

Lehkonen's score to make it 5-0 with 4:56 left in the first and put an end to Rittich's night. He was replaced by Connor Ingram, who had appeared in only three NHL games before Tuesday. Ingram had 30 saves.

The goals by MacKinnon and Toews were in the first 2:42, making it the fastest pair of goals to start a playoff game in Colorado/Quebec franchise history. The old mark belonged to Valeri Kamensky and Peter Forsberg, who scored in the opening 2:54 during Game 2 of the 1998 conference quarter-finals, according to NHL Stats.

Capitals steal series-opener on road from Panthers

T.J. Oshie scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 shots and the Washington Capitals rallied past the top-seeded Florida Panthers 4-2 in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller also scored for Washington, which trailed 2-1 going into the third period. Teams had been 0-39-1 against Florida in the regular season when trailing after 40 minutes, 0-22-0 when doing so on the Panthers' home ice.

The Capitals must have ignored those numbers. Kuznetsov tied the game after a Florida turnover with 11:46 left, then Oshie got behind the defence and tapped a pass by Sergei Bobrovsky for what became the winner 2:23 later.

Eller wrapped it up with an empty-netter with 49 seconds left.

Claude Giroux and Sam Bennett scored for Florida, which has not won the opening game of a postseason series since 1997. Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots for the Panthers, the Presidents' Trophy winners after an NHL-best 122 points in the regular season — and saw the home-ice advantage slip away in their playoff opener.

Game 2 is Thursday, back in Florida.

The Panthers argued for an icing call that didn't come on the play where the game got tied. MacKenzie Weegar lost the puck after bouncing into Capitals star Alex Ovechkin near centre ice, went down, and Kuznetsov skated in alone on Bobrovsky. He beat him to the stick side, tying the game 2-2 with 11:46 left.

Oshie's go-ahead goal came not long afterward, and Florida never got the equalizer.

The Panthers had 340 goals in the regular season and were the NHL's highest-scoring team since Pittsburgh in 1995-96 — which, perhaps coincidentally, was the last (and only) season in which Florida has won a playoff series. The Panthers went to the Stanley Cup final that season, haven't gotten past Round 1 since, and the high-octane offence was largely silenced in Game 1.

The Panthers found themselves on the penalty kill just 49 seconds into the game after Radko Gudas got called for high-sticking, and things worsened when Weegar was hit with a delay of game call to give Washington 1:01 of five-on-three hockey.

The two-man disadvantage was killed off. And Florida was one second away from escaping the whole thing unscathed, before Wilson scored at 3:47 to give Washington a 1-0 lead.

But Wilson left the game not long afterward. He returned to the ice during a stoppage in play in the second period, skated a bit as if to test something, then returned to the locker room. There was no immediate word on the injury or its extent.

Bennett tied the game late in the first, Giroux made it 2-1 in the second, but the Panthers were blanked the rest of the way.

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