PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Carolina Hurricanes probably expected Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to make a difference. What they couldn’t have anticipated was being beaten by Miroslav Satan and Philippe Boucher.

Satan and Boucher scored their first goals of the playoffs and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury prevented Carolina from getting its offense going, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Malkin had a goal and an assist on a night Crosby, the leading scorer in the playoffs with 22 points, was limited to an assist. Satan and Malkin scored less than 90 seconds apart midway through the first period for the Penguins, who are trying to win back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 1991-92.

The Penguins got contributions from Satan, who fell into such disfavor in March that he was sent to the minors, and Boucher, a defenseman best known for his hard slap shot.

Boucher scored what proved to be the decisive goal on a power play at 11:33 of the third, a shot from the left circle that trickled across the goal line before Cam Ward could stop it.

Boucher’s goal was his first in the playoffs since April 12, 2004, and proved significant when Joe Corvo scored on a power play with 1:26 remaining for Carolina, which has dropped Game 1 in each of its three playoff series.

Fleury didn’t make as many tough saves as Ward, who turned aside 28 shots, but he kept the Hurricanes from getting any offensive flow going in a game when many of their best scoring chances came in the final few minutes. Fleury made 23 saves.

The Hurricanes played better than they did in losing Game 1 to New Jersey and Boston, each time 4-1, but played from behind after Satan came out of the penalty box and scored at 9:17 on a breakaway created by Matt Cooke’s pass. Malkin made it 2-0 at 10:41 on a backhander to Ward’s stick side.

While the Hurricanes didn’t have the opening-game letdown that some teams experience after a series as challenging and emotionally draining as their seven-game second round against top-seeded Boston, they again lacked goals. That’s been an ongoing problem for a team that found multiple ways to pull out games in the first two rounds but averaged only 2.36 goals per game – far less than Pittsburgh’s 3.46 average.

The Hurricanes didn’t score until Chad LaRose’s goal off Erik Cole’s drop pass at 13:04 of the second, and then got only one shot in the first 10 minutes of the third.

Notes: Penguins D Sergei Gonchar played more than 21 minutes although he has had little practice time since a hit by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin injured his knee in Game 4 of the second round. … Pittsburgh scored on the power play for the eighth consecutive game. … The Penguins are the first team since the 1996 Detroit Red Wings to return to the conference final the season after losing in the Stanley Cup finals. … The teams, meeting for the first time in the playoffs, split four regular-season games.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.