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Vasilevskiy, Lightning strike first against Penguins

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VASILEVSKIY BACKS LIGHTNING IN OPENER OF EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist to help the Tampa Bay Lightning open up a three-goal lead, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves in 47:15 of relief of the injured Ben Bishop in the Lightning's 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Consol Energy Center. Game 2 is Monday in Pittsburgh (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

* Vasilevskiy earned his second career playoff win in relief after Bishop left with a lower-body injury at 12:25 of the first period. Vasilevskiy's only other postseason victory also came in relief of Bishop, in Game 2 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Vasilevskiy became the first goaltender to record each of his first two career playoff wins in relief efforts since Olaf Kolzig did it with the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the 1995 and 1996 Conference Quarterfinals, both at Pittsburgh.

* Palat has four goals and eight assists in 10 career games against the Penguins (regular season and playoffs).

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams that win Game 1 of the conference finals own an all-time series record of 67-29 (.698).

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm1: Palat doubles Lightning's lead with PPG

LONG IN THE YOUTH

Vasilievskiy, the 19th selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, was opposed in goal by fellow 21-year-old netminder Matt Murray , whom Pittsburgh selected in the third round (No. 83), also in 2012.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the fourth time in the past 35 years that each goaltender in a playoff game was age 21 or younger, and the first instance in that span past the opening round:

Games 1-3 & 5, 1985 DSF: Tom Barrasso (BUF, 20) vs. Mario Gosselin (QUE, 21)
Games 2 & 3, 1986 DSF: Bill Ranford (BOS, 19) vs. Patrick Roy (MTL, 20)
Games 2 & 4, 1987 DSF: Bill Ranford (BOS, 20) vs. Patrick Roy (MTL, 21)
Game 1, 2016 CF: Matt Murray (PIT, 21) vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL, 21)

CROSBY MOVES UP

* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby registered his 83rd career playoff assist to move past Jaromir Jagr (82) into sole possession of second place in franchise history, behind Mario Lemieux (96).

BLUES, SHARKS PREPARE FOR WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

The St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks will open the 2016 Western Conference Final on Sunday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). This marks the fifth all-time playoff meeting between the two franchises, and the first past the opening round. The teams have split their previous four meetings, with St. Louis winning the most recent encounter in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals in five games. Neither the Blues nor the Sharks have won the Stanley Cup; St. Louis is making its first appearance in the conference final since 2001, and the Sharks are playing in the conference final for the fourth time. The Blues have not played in the Stanley Cup Final since 1970.

Video: SAP Round 3 Infographics Series Preview: SJS STL

LOOSE PUCKS

Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin , who scored a goal on Friday, has two goals and eight assists in 11 playoff games for Tampa Bay. … The Los Angeles Kings and coach Darryl Sutter agreed to terms on a multi-year contract. … The date for announcement of final rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016 has been changed from June 1 to May 27.

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