April 12 (UPI) — Sidney Crosby scored three goals, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pittsburgh dominated Game 1 of the series, leaving the home ice Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena with a 7-0 triumph.
“We executed, we capitalized on our chances,” Crosby told reporters. “I think there are always areas you need to improve on … You have to get better with each game regardless of the score.”
Crosby’s first goal of the game was perhaps his best of the night. Pittsburgh already led the game 4-0 with about 11 minutes remaining in the second period. Defender Brian Dumoulin attempted a shot for the home squad from the left side. The puck went flying toward Crosby, who was standing in front of the goal. The two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner decided to raise his stick and swing it in front of his body, whacking it past Flyers net minder Brian Elliott and into the far side of the net.
“Sid the Kid” added his second goal with 12:19 remaining in the third period. He scored again three minutes later, giving the Penguins their final goal. Crosby also had a redirect from Dumoulin on his third goal.
The Penguins went up 1-0 on Bryan Rust’s score 2:38 into the game. Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead at the end of the first frame. Jake Guentzel netted a score 7:50 seconds into the second period, before Crosby started his scoring spree.
Matt Murray made 24 saves in the shutout.
Crosby is making a habit of batting pucks out of midair for sensational scores. He recently did the same thing during the Penguins’ 5-3 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in March at PPG Paints Arena. That time, Crosby bounced the puck multiple times on his stick before slotting it past Canadiens keeper Casey Price.
“I don’t know,” Crosby said, when asked about his knact for scoring the stylish goals. “You go to the net and sometimes they end up there and they don’t always go in. So it’s great to see them go in. But yeah, you’ve gotta go to the net this time of the year and that’s usually where pucks are.”
The Penguins and Flyers resume the first-round series at 7 p.m. Friday in Pittsburgh before moving the showdown to Philadelphia on Sunday.