Eastern conference final: The Malkin way.
The series between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins began tonight in Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin did not waste any time and made his presence felt all game long.
Both teams exchanged five goals in an exciting first period in this series opener. First, Petr Sykora opened the score when he waited for goaltender Martin Biron to make the first move to beat him after only six minutes of play. The Flyers replied with two goals from Mike Richards in a four minute span to give a 2-1 lead to his team.
The ''Broad Street Bullies'' lead only lasted 1:21 when Sidney Crosby scored his third goal of the playoffs, tying the game at 2-2. From this point on, Evgeni Malkin took charge and made the difference. With only six seconds to go in this offensive first period, Malkin scored his first goal of the game, his seventh of the playoffs and the game winning goal.
Five minutes into the second period and playing shorthanded, Evgeni Malkin accepted a great pass from Sergei Gonchar and went all alone with the Flyers netminder. With a powerful slap shot on the stick side of Biron, Malkin has put an exclamation point to this game and earned the ''first star of the game'' award.
Final score: Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - Philadelphia Flyers 2 (Pittsburgh leads the series by 1-0)
Game two of the series is scheduled sunday.
(Picture: Evgeni Malkin, Canadian Press.)