New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves and the New York Rangers took a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh had first-period goals for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers, who come into the playoffs looking to repeat as the Eastern Conference champions.
"It's definitely a good start we had tonight," said Lundqvist. "Puck management is key and I thought we played a really smart game. Both teams know what to expect and there's not going to be any surprises. It comes down to execution and we played a strong 60-minute game."
Blake Comeau scored the only goal while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 shots for the Penguins, who qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the season and are looking to avenge a semifinal loss last year to the Rangers.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is Saturday night in New York.
It took all of 28 seconds for the Rangers to get on the board as Rick Nash let fly with a blast from the left wing and Brassard was in front to pop in the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Skating on its third power play of the opening frame, New York took a 2-0 lead as McDonagh fired a one-timer from the high slot that found its way into the net with 4:44 to play in the frame.
"Way too many penalties in a postseason game," said Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi. "Four in the first is not going to get it done, it's going to take away any momentum you have."
The Penguins, who were held to just five shots in the first period, had a much stronger second period and were able to make it a one-goal game 6:15 in.
Ben Lovejoy sent a shot on net from the right point that Lundqvist was able to stop with Maxim Lapierre causing havoc in front. Comeau was there, though, to pot the rebound for a 2-1 game.
The Rangers killed off a penalty later in the period and Lundqvist finished the frame with 10 saves, while Fleury turned aside 14 to keep his team in the game.
Fleury kept up the strong play in the third when he made a tough save on a Carl Hagelin wrister about four minutes in.
Pittsburgh was only able to generate nine shots in the third period, none of which were difficult stops for Lundqvist.
The Pens pulled Fleury with around 1:15 to go, but were whistled for an icing to force him back in net.
Pittsburgh was able to win the faceoff and get the puck back into the New York end with Fleury again going to the bench, but were unable to generate any shots before the game ended.
The Rangers were 3-0-1 against the Penguins in the regular season, outscoring them 16-8 ... Pittsburgh has won four of the five playoffs matchups against New York ... New York went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Pittsburgh failed to score on its one opportunity ... Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole led all skaters in ice time at 26:06.