The Penguins followed their plan perfectly in Game 1.
On Tuesday night, the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals began with two games.
Home teams had the advantage as the Pittsburgh Penguins topped the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-1 while the Los Angeles Kings dominated the San Jose Sharks and skated away with a 2-0 victory.
For now, home turf is comfortable turf, though anything can happen as a series progresses.
Here's a look at a few other takeaways from Tuesday's Stanley Cup action.
It takes time to build the intensity we see in overtime of Game 7.
Monday night's stunning comeback by the Boston Bruins is a game that will go down in history.
By comparison, Tuesday night's contests were relatively tame.
Pittsburgh got off to an early lead, but Ottawa answered back quickly to tie the game at 1-1. By the late stages of the first period, Evgeni Malkin had given the Penguins a 2-1 lead, and they never looked back, cruising to a relatively easy 4-1 victory.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings had the luxury of hosting the first game of their series at the Staples Center for the first time ever. The last time they'd had home-ice advantage was back at the old Forum in 1992—16 series ago.
Home-ice jitters weren't a factor, though. Los Angeles continued the streak it began in last year's playoffs, scoring two goals to put the San Jose Sharks on their heels, then defending their way to a win.
In both cases, it wasn't especially pretty, but it was very efficient. Three more to go.
The Pittsburgh Penguins put pucks by Craig Anderson with the man advantage.
The good news for the Ottawa Senators is that they matched the Pittsburgh Penguins at even strength on Tuesday night.
The bad news was that the Penguins were 2-for-4 on the power play and logged a short-handed goal in cruising to a 4-1 win to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
Going 0-for-5 on their own power plays was probably the single biggest contributor to an Ottawa loss in Tuesday's game. The explosiveness of the Penguins was the other contributing factor.
The Penguins looked flatfooted at times against the New York Islanders, but they also opened with a dominating 5-0 victory before letting the Islanders back into that series. The Senators may be able to take comfort in the opportunity to follow a similar path as they regroup for Game 2.
Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots to shut out the Sharks.
After fumbling a puck that led to the game-winning goal in the first game of the Los Angeles Kings' playoffs, Jonathan Quick has once again dialed in the form that earned him the Conn Smythe trophy last year as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Quick stopped 35 Sharks shots en route to his second shutout of the playoffs—already one more than he achieved in the regular season.
As we saw last year, the Kings' success is built from the net out. If Quick is in the same zone as last year, this could be a short series for San Jose.
Slava Voynov is quickly becoming an elite defenseman.
With his goal tonight, Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings leads the NHL playoffs in game-winning goals, with three. He is also fifth in plus/minus with a plus-seven. That's the definition of solid two-way play.
Voynov was a revelation in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, and it appears he wasn't a one-hit wonder. The 23-year-old is still in the last year of his rookie contract, earning just $787,500 this year, according to CapGeek.
The Kings had an acrimonious negotiation with Drew Doughty before eventually signing him to a big deal. Los Angeles currently has only three defensemen signed for next season. Will Voynov's playoff success create a hurdle for management when it comes to negotiating a workable deal?
Raffi Torres was up to his old tricks, knocking Jarret Stoll out of the game.
In terms of discipline, the San Jose Sharks played an almost perfect Game 1.
Their only penalty of the night was assessed against agitator Raffi Torres, who knocked Jarret Stoll out of the game with a charge late in the second, according to cbc.ca.
After his 25-game suspension during last year's playoffs for leveling Marian Hossa, Torres has insisted he's a different player. He kept his penalty minutes to a minimum in the regular season, as Ben Kuzma of The Province explained, but his play Tuesday night indicates that his opponents—even former teammates— should keep their heads up when he's around.
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