PITTSBURGH - Defensemen Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins shredded the Montreal penalty-killing unit that Washington never solved in the opening round, beating the Canadiens, 6-3, Friday night in the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Sidney Crosby set up two goals, and Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar also scored as the Penguins' improved power play went 4-for-4. That is three more goals than the Capitals scored with the man advantage during Montreal's stunning first-round upset, when the Canadiens killed 32 of 33 Capitals power plays. Bill Guerin added an empty-net goal and had an assist.
The Stanley Cup champion Penguins, winners of eight of 10 series since 2007, are in position to take a 2-0 lead in Game 2 on Sunday at home.
Two players were injured and did not return to the game. Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov was helped off the ice with an undisclosed lower body injury after being rammed by Penguins forward Matt Cooke during the first period. Markov was skating toward a loose puck in the corner when Cooke leveled him with a hit that was not penalized. Markov remained down for several minutes before being helped to a runway leading to the Montreal dressing room. Pittsburgh ended up with a power play because two Canadiens drew roughing penalties.
The Penguins' Staal injured his right leg during a second-period collision with Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. Staal came up limping Friday night after Subban accidentally undercut him behind the net.