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PITTSBURGH (AP) The sluggish opening three months. The so-so finish. The only occasional attention to detail on defense. None of it matters anymore.The playoffs are here. The champs are Elias Lindholm Jersey Womens , too.Sidney Crosby and the Penguins provided proof in Pittsburgh’s 7-0 dismantling of the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening game of their first-round series Wednesday night.Crosby performed more stick wizardry on his way to his third postseason hat trick, Evgeni Malkin added a highlight-reel goal of his own and the Penguins overwhelmed their seemingly overmatched cross-state rivals to begin their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup with a blowout that seemed to indicate the grudge match could be a mismatch.Not that Pittsburgh’s captain wanted to buy into any sort of message sending, even after the Penguins became only the fifth team in NHL history to win a series opener by at least seven goals.”I mean, it’s one game,” Crosby said. ”Whether it’s 7-0 or 1-0 or double overtime, it’s one game. A big part in the playoffs is to get better every game and to adjust, and that’s the way we have to look at it.”That might be a frightening proposition for the rest of the NHL. It certainly is for the Flyers, who have lost all five meetings with Pittsburgh this season, giving up at least five goals each time. Nothing that happened during the regular season, however, compared to Wednesday night. The Penguins pumped five goals in the first 29:01 to chase goalie Brian Elliott, and the Flyers simply could not keep pace.”It was one of the worst games I’ve been a part of,” Flyers forward Claude Giroux said.Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol mercifully pulled Elliott after Crosby swatted Brian Dumoulin’s point shot out of the air and knocked it by a stunned Elliott to put the Penguins up 5-0 just before the game’s midway point. Elliott stopped 14 of 19 shots before being replaced by Petr Mrazek. Mrazek made 12 saves Alan Quine Jersey Womens , but Hakstol indicated he’s likely to go with Elliott again in Friday’s Game 2.Whoever is in net for the Flyers, it won’t matter if the play in front of them isn’t better. Philadelphia’s power play went 0 for 4 and didn’t even generate a shot.”They beat us from pretty much every aspect tonight, starting from the net out,” Elliott said. ”Everybody just has to be better.”Jake Guentzel had a goal and three assists for Pittsburgh. Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin also scored. Matt Murray stopped 24 shots for his third straight playoff shutout.The Flyers stressed the need to stay out of the penalty box and put together three disciplined, competitive periods if they wanted to put an abrupt halt to Pittsburgh’s run at history. It didn’t happen. Not even close.The Penguins jumped on Philadelphia early. Elliott stopped Kris Letang’s slap shot with his blocker only to see the long rebound go right to Rust, who ripped it over Elliott’s right shoulder to give the Penguins the lead 2:38 into the game.Philadelphia’s best chance at staying in it came minutes later, but Scott Laughton whiffed on his first attempt from the doorstep and Murray made a sprawling glove save on Laughton’s second try to preserve Pittsburgh’s lead.”If that goes in, it’s 1-1 and maybe we’re talking about a different result,” Crosby said.Moments later, Hagelin expertly redirected Patric Hornqvist’s shot past Elliott 10:07 into the game. Malkin drew a hooking penalty to negate a Pittsburgh power play, and when he emerged from the penalty box, he whizzed past three Flyers in one sequence, darting by Jakub Voracek Petr Mrazek Jersey Womens , slipping past Giroux and then fending off Shayne Gostisbehere before flicking a backhand past Elliott to put the Penguins up 3-0 before the series was 15 minutes old.All that before Crosby got involved.The two-time MVP has a knack for scoring in unorthodox ways. He beat Montreal’s Carey Price with an intentional double-deflection and smacked a rebound out of air in overtime to top New Jersey within a span of eight days last month.His first of the playoffs was just as impressive and provided the exclamation point on a night Pittsburgh looked every bit the threat to become the first team since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s to capture three straight Cups.NOTES: Crosby’s hat trick tied Pittsburgh owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for the most postseason hat tricks in franchise history. … Murray hasn’t allowed a goal since Game 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup finals, a span of 206:26. … The Penguins, who had the league’s top-ranked power play during the regular season, went 1 for 4 with the man advantage. … Pittsburgh C Derick Brassard, who missed time late in the regular season with a lower-body injury, had an assist in 13:44. … Injured Steelers LB Ryan Shazier, who is recovering from spine stabilization surgery and has already been ruled out for the 2018 season, stood up and led the sell-out crowd in a pre-game cheer.— COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his second consecutive shutout as the Columbus Blue Jackets keep scrapping to get above the Eastern Division wild-card line.Bobrovsky was excellent again as the Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 4-0 on Tuesday night. With Montreal’s win over Florida, Columbus remained two points behind the Canadiens for the second wild-card spot and three behind Carolina for the first.Something will have to give on Thursday, when Montreal plays in Columbus.Bobrovsky had 26 saves in picking up his eighth shutout of the season and 32nd of his career.“He told me a couple weeks ago he is good mentally, he is good physically,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “He’s been good for a while now Jordan Schroeder Jersey Womens , and he’s going to have to keep on being better because we have to get on his shoulders as we go through these last half dozen games.”Bobrovsky said he’s ready for the run.“I don’t feel the pressure,” said the Russian, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. “One game at a time, just try to embrace it and have fun (as) the atmosphere gets more intense and the building gets more energized. It’s fun to be part of.”Thomas Greiss, who had shut out Columbus twice this season, finished with 29 saves for the Islanders, who remained tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division, three behind Washington, with five left to play. They have been shut out in three of the last five games.Ryan Dzingel, Artemi Panarin, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, which salvaged a win in the last of the four-game season series between the divisional rivals.Dzingel scored with a snipe over Greiss’ head 5:43 into the game from the left circle. That came near the end of a power play brought about by the Islanders having too many men on the ice.Panarin got his first goal in 13 games early in the second when Cam Atkinson batted at the puck in the neutral zone and pushed it behind the Islanders’ defense. Panarin picked it up and beat Greiss on the breakaway.“A couple goals I’d like to have back, but sometimes it just goes like that Matt Calvert Jersey Womens ,” Greiss said.Bjorkstrand scored his second goal in as many games with 8:46 remaining in the game, and Atkinson added an empty-netter with 27 seconds left.Columbus is desperate and it showed.“It was a playoff game — plain and simple, that’s what it was,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “The last two games we’ve played have been playoff games, and there’s not a lot of room and you have to create it. If we had found the back of the net early there, it might have been a different story, but it wasn’t. We were in it really until they got the third goal.”NOTES: New York F Andrew Ladd suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs. … New York’s Tom Kuhnhackl played in his 200th career NHL game. … Columbus F Nick Foligno returned after missing four games to be with his family. His 22-month-old son, Hudson, was seriously ill with pneumonia. … Greiss had stopped 80 straight shots against Columbus before Dzingel’s first-period goal. … Dzingel has a three-game points streak. … Columbus is 30-7-2 when scoring the first goal this season. … Columbus D Scott Harrington missed a second game with an injury.UP NEXTNew York: At Winnipeg on Thursday.Columbus: Hosts Montreal on Thursday.

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