The Penguins scored all their goals in the third period and downed the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-0, in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series tonight at Consol Energy Center.
After two periods of traded scoring chances but no goals, it seemed clear this was an evenly matched series, as many had predicted.
The Penguins led in shots, 28-21, going into the third period, but Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had made more spectacular saves than Tampa Bay counterpart Dwayne Roloson.
The Penguins broke things open in the third period with goals 18 seconds apart.
Alex Kovalev started it when, from the bottom of the left circle and just after having been knocked to the ice, he swept in a one-timer from James Neal to make it 1-0 at 6:05.
Arron Asham followed at 6:23 to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. His wraparound attempt was broken up at the right corner of the net by the Lightning's Eric Brewer, but Asham got the puck back and whipped it past Roloson.
Chris Kunitz added an empty-net goal to boost the Penguins' lead to 3-0 with 41.1 seconds left in regulation.
Game 2 is Friday night at Consol Energy Center.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721