PITTSBURGH (AP) — Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots in a surprise start in place of injured Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their Stanley Cup title defense with a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
Murray was scheduled to get the nod in the playoff opener but was a late scratch after suffering a lower-body injury during warm-ups. Fleury withstood an early push by Columbus, and the Penguins responded by pulling away from the untested Blue Jackets.
Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Nick Bonino and Bryan Rust also scored, and Evgeni Malkin assisted on Rust and Kessel’s goals in his first game back after missing the final three weeks of the regular season because of an upper-body injury.
Matt Calvert scored for Columbus in the third period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves.
Game 2 is Friday night in Pittsburgh.