ANAHEIM, California — The NHL playoffs began with three closely fought games on Wednesday, with Anaheim, Pittsburgh and Montreal all winning by single-goal margins to take the early advantage in their best-of-seven first-round series.
Anaheim’s Danish goaltender Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in his playoff debut to help the Ducks hold on for a 4-3 win at home against Dallas, Pittsburgh also had a 4-3 home win, coming from behind to edge Columbus, while Montreal picked up a valuable road victory with a 5-4 overtime win at Tampa Bay.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, while Kyle Palmieri and Mathieu Perreault also scored in a dominant first period for the top-seeded Ducks.
Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist — before being injured in the third period — as the hosts took a 4-0 lead in the second period before Dallas belatedly got rolling in its first playoff game since 2008.
Captain Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour had power-play goals, and Tyler Seguin scored with 6:07 left to trim the Ducks’ lead to one but Anaheim hung on with a handful of big saves from Andersen.
Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter scored the winner on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, completing a Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over Columbus.
Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit. Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury overcame some shaky defense to stop 31 shots.
Jack Johnson, Mark Letestu and Derek Mackenzie scored for the Blue Jackets, who fell to 0-5 all-time in postseason games. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 28 saves but was handcuffed by Sutter’s knuckling wrister at the end of a 2-on-1 break.
Montreal’s Dale Weise scored 18:08 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 5-4 win at Tampa Bay.
Daniel Briere passed from behind the net to Weise in the right circle, and he beat Anders Lindback for the winning score. Lindback stopped 39 of 44 shots while filling in for injured goaltender Ben Bishop.
Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Canadiens, who blew a pair of third-period leads. Brian Gionta had a short-handed goal and Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Thomas Vanek also scored for Montreal.
Steven Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay, including the goal that forced overtime.