The NHL Playoffs: The quest for the Holy Grail begins

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Pittsburgh Penguins have put the world on notice after a dominating Game 1 win, demolishing the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 while Sidney Crosby recorded his third career playoff hat trick.

The playoffs are here.

And the Penguins went through everything but the Flyers' five-hole in Game 1 of their first-round series.

"For the most part, I think it's just the speed and intensity that increases and all those little details become magnified", said team captain Sidney Crosby, a two-time Conn Smythe Trophy victor as the playoffs' most valuable player the past two seasons.

"I don't think we've played our best game or a full 60 minutes against Pittsburgh yet", Flyers forward Sean Couturier said. After Boston blew a 3-1 series lead, one of the craziest game sevens in postseason history took place.

After the first night of action, we have the final results of the first three games of the National Hockey League playoffs. It's on the Flyers now to not only be better, but be prepared for what Pittsburgh brings in response to this Game 1 spectacle.

Lots of optimistic Golden Knights fans bet on the team to win the Stanley Cup before the season started, when odds were about 200-1.

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If anything, the Flyers can't play that terribly again, but even then that's not saying much. He made just 14 saves on 19 shots leaving the Flyers goaltending questions continue. Hakstol indicated after the game that he is leaning toward Elliott starting Game 2, although everything is always subject to change so keep an eye on any official information today. Coach Dave Hakstol talked about liking the way Elliott read plays and saw the puck, how the Flyers need to do a better job in front of their goaltender, no matter who it is.

It took him nine years and four cities - from Atlanta to Winnipeg, Buffalo and now San Jose - since being selected with the No. 4 pick by the then-Thrashers in the 2009 draft to finally prepare for his playoff debut.

Just 5 seconds into the game, Giroux blasted Crosby at the blue line to force a turnover. Their number this season was just a touch better than the 26.0 the 1995-96 club posted, a group that included Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux and Ron Francis and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr. Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin also scored.

Matt Murray got the start in goal for the Penguins and stopped all 24 shots in the shutout win. It didn't happen. Not even close. He is still the unquestioned leader of the Penguins and as long as he is rolling, Pittsburgh will have a chance in the postseason.

"If that goes in, it's 1-1 and maybe we're talking about a different result", Crosby said. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 6.0 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins played well down the stretch as they won four of their last five games of the regular season and they used that momentum to take down the Flyers in game one.

The two-time MVP has a knack for scoring in unorthodox ways. Instead of looking like a team that some considered one of the hottest in the National Hockey League to end the regular season after winning four of their final five games, the Flyers looked more like a team that should be watching the playoffs from home during their first meeting with the Penguins. And yes, we know Sidney Crosby notched a hat trick and his team scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point in their 7-0 victory. And while it's fair to point out Pittsburgh won a Cup with a rookie goalie two years ago (Murray), catching lightning in a bottle twice would be miraculous. Brassard appeared to be hitting his stride in late March before suffering a lower-body injury. Injured Steelers LB Ryan Shazier, who is recovering from spine stabilization surgery and has already been ruled out for the 2018 season, stood up and led the sell-out crowd in a pre-game cheer.

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