The Washington Capitals managed to accomplish a frustrating hat trick of iron, hitting the post or crossbar three times.
But Alex Ovechkin found a way to score, tying the game late in regulation during an intense scramble. Then Alexander Semin scored 18:24 into overtime to give the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference a 2-1 win over the eighth-seeded New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round series on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C.
New York defenseman Matt Gilroy broke a scoreless tie with a one-timer 1:56 into the third period, and Ovechkin tied it with 6:16 to go in regulation.
Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves to win his NHL playoff debut.
At Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2: Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored midway through the second period to put Detroit ahead, and the Red Wings went on to beat Phoenix in the opener of a Western Conference playoff series.
Jimmy Howard made 26 saves for the third-seeded Red Wings.
Penguins 3, Lightning 0: Alex Kovalev and Arron Asham scored third-period goals 18 seconds apart, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots to lead Pittsburgh to a victory over Tampa Bay in an Eastern Conference first-round playoff opener.
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
FIRST ROUND (BEST OF 7)
Montreal at Boston, 4 p.m., Versus, CBUT
Buffalo at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m., Versus
Los Angeles at San Jose, 7 p.m., Versus