PAUL MARTIN and Chris Kunitz scored power-play goals and Pascal Dupuis added his sixth goal of the playoffs as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the visiting Ottawa Senators last night, 4-1, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to seven games with a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Tomas Vokoun stopped 35 shots to win his third straight start and top-seeded Pittsburgh never trailed.
"We know it's a good start, but it's just like the rest of the playoffs, we know it's just the start," Pittsburgh forward Jarome Iginla said.
Colin Greening scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson made 26 saves but Ottawa had no answer for Pittsburgh's power play.
"Their power play is good," Anderson said. "We knew that going in and if we want to have a good chance to win a game we're going to have to shoot down their special teams. It's huge for them. If we're able to kill those off, it's a different game."
The Penguins are 9-for-24 with the man advantage through seven playoff games, best of the eight teams remaining in the postseason.
The Senators had the NHL's best penalty kill during the regular season and turned aside 16 of 19 penalties against Montreal in the first round.
Pittsburgh was pushed to six games by the New York Islanders during a spirited first-round series in which the youthful Islanders had the Penguins on their heels at times.
Still, Pittsburgh advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time in 3 years behind the power play and a gutsy move by coach Dan Bylsma to bench top goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and replace him with Vokoun.
The 36-year-old Vokoun made his 713th NHL start last night, but his first with the stakes this big. Despite acknowledging some butterflies when told he would get the starting assignment for Game 1, Vokoun overcame some shaky moments early to settle down.
The Dallas Stars fired coach Glen Gulutzan, an expected move by new general manager Jim Nill for a franchise that has missed the playoffs a record five straight seasons.
Gulutzan's dismissal came about 2 weeks after Nill replaced Joe Nieuwendyk, who was fired after four seasons.
The 41-year-old Gulutzan had the Stars in playoff contention in both his seasons, but Dallas faltered down the stretch each time. The Stars were 64-57-9 under Gulutzan, including 22-22-4 in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Assistant coach Paul Jerrard also was fired.
Assistant coach Curt Fraser and goaltending coach Mike Valley will stay with the club.
* Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy, which is for perseverance, dedication and sportsmanship.
The other finalists are Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding and Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid.