PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby had a natural hat trick to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday.
Crosby scored once in the second period and twice in the third. The hat trick was his third in 149 Stanley Cup Playoff games, tied for most in Penguins history with Mario Lemieux, who did it in 107 games.
"We executed. We capitalized on our chances," Crosby said. "I think there is always areas you need to improve on. … You have to get better with each game regardless of the score."
[WATCH: All Flyers vs. Penguins highlights | Complete Penguins vs. Flyers series coverage]
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ATTSN-PT).
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Matt Murray made 24 saves for his third straight shutout in the playoffs. He has not allowed a postseason goal since Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson scored at 13:08 of the second period in Game 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
"A win is a win," Murray said. "We'll take it, obviously, but in the playoffs, it doesn't matter if you win 7-0 or 1-0 in overtime"
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Crosby completes natural hat trick
Flyers starter Brian Elliott was pulled at 9:01 of the second period after allowing five goals on 19 shots.
"It's a loss," Elliott said. "That's all it is at the end of the day."
Before Crosby scored, Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead in the first period, and Jake Guentzel, who had four points (one goal, three assists), made it 4-0 in the second.
Rust made it 1-0 at 2:38 when he scored on the rebound of a Kris Letang shot.
Hagelin made it 2-0 at 10:07 by redirecting a pass from Patric Hornqvist by Elliott's blocker before Malkin extended the lead to 3-0 at 14:09, 12 seconds after the Penguins killed his hooking penalty.
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Hagelin beats Elliott on deflection
After leaving the penalty box, Malkin took the puck, stick-handled around Jakub Voracek along the far wall, and darted between Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere on his way to the inner edge of the right face-off circle. He held off Gostisbehere and placed a backhand shot inside the left post.
"That's one of the toughest ways to start a playoffs series, obviously," Gostisbehere said. "But we knew it wasn't going to be easy. The last time I checked, they got to beat us four times. Obviously, they beat us 7-0. It really hurts. It's obviously embarrassing, but it's only 1-0 in the series, and there's a lot of hockey to be played."
After Guentzel scored at 7:50 of the second, Crosby backhanded a Brian Dumoulin shot out of midair to make it 5-0 at 9:01.
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Guentzel taps in pass for PPG
Petr Mrazek replaced Elliott and made a save on 12 of 14 shots he faced.
Crosby scored at 7:41 and 10:42 of the third period to make it 7-0.
Scott Laughton had Philadelphia's best chance, when he was left alone to the right of an open net with the Penguins leading 1-0 at 8:20 of the first period. After whiffing on his first shot attempt, Laughton got a hold of the second but was denied when Murray reached back for a glove save.
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"That could have changed the momentum of the game, for sure," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "It was a big play. [Laughton] looked a little bit tight on that. Maybe that's something we just had to go through in this hockey game."
Goal of the game
Malkin's goal at 14:09 of the first period.
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Malkin goes end to end for pretty goal
Save of the game
Murray stopping Laughton at 8:20 of the first period.
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Murray dives for great glove save
Highlight of the game
Crosby's goal at 9:01 of the second period.
Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Crosby flashes hand-eye coordination
They said it
"It was one of the worst games I've been a part of. … They had their chances to score, and they went in. They made plays in tight areas, and we just have to find an answer coming next game." -- Flyers captain Claude Giroux
"[Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin], sometimes we marvel at what they do out there with their talent level and their instincts." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan
Need to know
Penguins forward Derick Brassard had one assist in 13:44 in his return after missing the final five games of the regular season because of a lower-body injury. … Philadelphia has allowed at least five goals in each of its five games against Pittsburgh in the regular season and playoffs. … The seven-goal loss is tied for the second-largest for the Flyers in the playoffs. They lost 10-3 to the Penguins in Game 4 of the first round on April 18, 2012. Their largest loss was 8-0 to the Buffalo Sabres in Game 6 of the first round April 21, 2001. … The seven-goal win is tied for the second-largest for the Penguins in the playoffs. They've won by seven four previous times, with the most recent coming in a 7-0 win against the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on May 21, 2017.
Game 2 of Eastern Conference First Round at PPG Paints Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ATTSN-PT)
Video: Crosby notches hat trick, Pens rout Flyers in Game 1