Pascal Dupuis scored twice, Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves, and the top-seeded Penguins opened the playoffs with a 5-0 romp over the New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Wednesday night.
Beau Bennett, Kris Letang and Tanner Glass also scored for the Penguins, who had no trouble against the upstart Islanders even with star Sidney Crosby sidelined by a broken jaw. Pittsburgh hardly needed its captain to continue its mastery of the Islanders, who made their first playoff appearance since 2007.
Fleury earned his sixth career playoff shutout.
The Penguins beat Evgeni Nabokov four times in the first 22 minutes, including goals by Letang and Dupuis 32 seconds apart early in the second period to send Nabokov to the bench after he stopped just 11 shots.
Kevin Poulin came on in relief and surrendered a soft goal to Glass.
Game 2 is Friday in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins hoped to have Crosby back for the first time since he was struck in the face by a puck March 30 in a game against the Islanders. Doctors, however, declined to clear the NHL’s third-leading scorer, feeling his jaw wasn’t healed enough for contact.
Considering the way his teammates picked up the slack on the first night of what the Penguins hope is a two-month march to the Stanley Cup, there is no need to rush Crosby back.
Pittsburgh rolled to the top of the East even though Crosby missed the final quarter of the season. The Penguins were bolstered by the arrival of trade deadline acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Doug Murray.
All four players are searching for their first Cup title, and all four made an immediate impact in the series opener. Iginla and Jokinen both had two assists, and Morrow and Murray helped bottle up New York’s quickly improving offense.
Islanders star John Tavares failed to find much room to maneuver and didn’t muster a shot on goal. Those who did get pucks in on Fleury didn’t fare any better.
Sharks 3, Canucks 1 — Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau scored in the third period for San Jose, which rallied to beat host Vancouver in a first-round Western Conference series opener.
Boyle and Logan Couture both had a goal and an assist, and Marleau pushed San Jose’s lead to 3-1. Antti Niemi made 28 saves for the Sharks, who were outshot 30-28.
Kevin Bieksa scored for the Canucks before a disappointed white-towel-waving sellout crowd. The loss spoiled a strong effort from goalie Roberto Luongo, who earned the start after Cory Schneider didn’t recover in time from an undisclosed injury.
The Canucks were the first home team to lose in the first six games of this year’s playoffs.
Boyle put the Sharks ahead 2-1 at 9:17 as diminutive Derek Roy tried to push burly San Jose forward Tommy Wingels off the puck in front as two others pressured the net.
Wingels sent the puck out to the high slot, and Boyle came in from the point and scored.