HAMILTON, Ont. - Cedrick Desjardins had a perfect start to his American Hockey League playoff career.
The Hamilton goaltender made 21 saves and earned a shutout in his playoff debut, helping the Bulldogs to a 2-0 win over the Manitoba Moose.
"Our guys did a tremendous job in front of me," said Desjardins. "I was nervous ... but I was looking for a team win, and that's what we got today."
Hamilton will look to sweep its first two home games of the best-of-seven series when Game 2 goes Saturday.
Bulldogs winger Mike Glumac and centre Ryan Russell scored Hamilton's goals in a game that featured extremely tight defence and few scoring chances. The teams mustered a combined 39 shots, with the Moose outshooting the Bulldogs 21-18.
"Our model from day one has been defence first," said Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher. "We wanted to take away rebounds from the opponent, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.
"We certainly don't want to open it up, because we do not have the firepower (on offence)."
After a cautious start by both teams to the first period, Glumac fired a low, hard slapshot from the side boards that beat Moose goaltender Cory Schneider cleanly. Despite coming six minutes into the first period, it was only Hamilton's second shot of the game.
Russell added another early in the third period, taking a pass from Ryan White from behind the net and one-timing the puck over Schneider's shoulder into the top corner of the net.
Manitoba's best chance came in the first period when centre Yan Stastny slid between two Hamilton defenders to go in alone on Desjardins, only to wring a wrist shot off the post.
"I like a lot of what our plumbers did tonight," said Moose coach Scott Arniel. "I think that our skill guys have to step up, they're the ones we look to for offence.
"I like our grit. I like the way we competed. But our play with the puck, both five-on-five and five-on-four, has to be way better."
Neither team's power play was able to produce a goal - Manitoba was 0-6 with the man advantage, while Hamilton was 0-7.
"The puck has got to get through," said Boucher. "Right now, our pucks are not getting through so we're not getting any rebounds or any tips."
Schneider made 16 saves for Manitoba.
A boisterous crowd of 3,688 turned out at Copps Coliseum for the game, frequently jeering Schneider.
Keane, playing in his 301st playoff game as a pro, said some of the playoff newbies on his team were nervous to start the game.
"They were into it, but there was a lot of bumbling pucks and not making the passes they usually do," said Keane.
NOTES: Two of Manitoba's top defencemen returned to the lineup. Lawrence Nycholat missed eight games with an injured back, while Evan Oberg was on a call-up with the Vancouver Canucks. ... Forward Dan Sexton also returned to the Manitoba lineup after a call-up with the Anaheim Ducks. ... AHL President David Andrews presented Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher, defenceman P.K. Subban and goalies Cedrick Desjardins and Curtis Sanford with awards before the game. Boucher was named coach of the year, Subban was named to the all-rookie and first all-star teams, Desjardins was named to the second all-star team, and Desjardins and Sanford allowed the fewest goals against all season. ... The teams' last playoff meeting was in 2007, when Carey Price backstopped the Bulldogs to a 4-2 win over the Moose en route to Hamilton's only Calder Cup win.